Congress officially certified Joe Biden as the next US President yesterday, which means Donald Trump’s reign is about to come to an end — and social media sites are finally ready to wave goodbye. After temporarily banning Trump’s account because he encouraged his supporters to take the Capitol under siege, Facebook is now extending its block through the end of his presidency on January 20th.
Starting immediately, Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts will be blocked for the two weeks that remain before his term in the office ends. As such, he will not be allowed to post or share any new content on either of the platforms. This is a continuation of the temporary block that Facebook put in place on January 6th after Trump posted messages encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol and praising them for being “very special” people.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a statement on his personal account an hour ago to announce the decision. “The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” it reads. “His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world.”
Zuckerberg goes on to say that everyone in the country must do their part to ensure that the days before and after Biden’s inauguration are peaceful and in line with “established democratic norms.” He then states that they allowed Trump to use Facebook over the past four years so long as he followed the platform’s rules. When Trump didn’t, they removed content or labeled his posts for violating those policies.
“We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government,” wrote Zuckerberg. “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”
Read the full statement from Zuckerberg below.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has sought to limit Trump’s ability to spread misinformation. Last year, they pulled his ads featuring Nazi symbolism and his posts that falsely claimed the flu is more lethal than COVID-19. However, many have criticized Facebook for not taking action against Trump sooner, claiming that his rhetoric could instigate a coup — a fear turned reality when yesterday’s blatant domestic terrorism resulted in four deaths, dozens of arrests, and seemingly unending chaos.
Meanwhile, in the wake of yesterday’s events Twitter deleted several of Trump’s most egregious tweets and put him on a 12-hour suspension. Even Shopify, which hosts various shops online, has removed Trump’s stores from its platform as a result, too.