Facebook, Twitter and YouTube took action on President Donald Trump’s posts Wednesday in the wake of riots at the US Capitol from his supporters, but the platforms stopped short of suspending the President’s accounts despite growing pressure from advocacy groups and prominent figures.
Facebook and YouTube each removed President Donald Trump’s video from earlier in the afternoon addressing his supporters, according to company spokesmen. In the video, Trump had urged Capitol rioters to “go home” but struck a sympathetic tone and reiterated his debunked claims of election fraud.
“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of integrity, said in a tweet. “We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”
Twitter did not remove the video. But as of Wednesday afternoon, the social network did move to restrict engagement with tweets by Trump and others that have been labeled “due to a risk of violence.”
Likes and replies have been disabled on Trump’s tweet that claimed Vice President Mike Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.” Retweets of the tweet have been restricted, prompting users to add a comment rather than simply amplifying Trump’s remarks.
Those same restrictions were also applied to the video to Trump’s supporters.
“In regard to the ongoing situation in Washington, D.C., we are working proactively to protect the health of the public conversation occurring on the service and will take action on any content that violates the Twitter Rules,” Twitter said.
“Threats of and calls to violence are against the Twitter Rules, and we are enforcing our policies accordingly. In addition, we have been significantly restricting engagement with Tweets labeled under our Civic Integrity Policy due to the risk of violence. This means these labeled Tweets will not be able to be replied to, Retweeted, or liked.”
Twitter is still considering other “escalated enforcement actions,” it added.
Facebook condemned the riots at the US Capitol on Wednesday, but stopped short of saying Trump would be blocked from the social media platform.
“The violent protests in the Capitol today are a disgrace,” said Facebook spokesman Andy Stone in a statement to CNN Business. “We prohibit incitement and calls for violence on our platform. We are actively reviewing and removing any content that breaks these rules.”
Facebook, Twitter and other tech platforms faced growing calls Wednesday afternoon to suspend President Donald Trump’s social media accounts for his role in the riots.
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement accusing Trump of promoting sedition and inciting violence.
“President Trump has a responsibility to call for an end to this violence and unrest that he has sowed. His campaign of disinformation is a clear and present danger to our democracy,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “But until such time as that happens, social media companies should suspend his accounts ASAP as they would do for anyone else advocating disinformation and promoting violence. It’s time.”
Jessica Gonzalez, co-CEO of Free Press, an advocacy group, tweeted that the major platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok, face “another inflection point here.”
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