Donald Trump permanently suspended from Twitter due to risk of 'further incitement of violence'

The move prompted Mr Trump to turn to the official @POTUS account to accuse Twitter of conspiring with his political enemies to silence him, though the tweets were quickly deleted.

In this 31 December 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington.

In this 31 December 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington. Source: AAP

US President Donald Trump has been permanently suspended from Twitter due to the risk of "further incitement of violence", the social media giant has announced.

"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter said on Saturday morning.

Twitter said it had made clear that any "further violations" of its rules could result in suspension, after temporarily blocking Mr Trump's account in the wake of the riots he incited this week at the Capitol in Washington.

"In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action," it said.

"Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open. However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things."

The social media giant said it had since assessed two tweets that it deemed "highly likely" to encourage others to replicate the "criminal acts" that took place at the Capitol, when thousands of Mr Trump's supporters raided the building. At least five people have died as a result.

Among the offending tweets, Twitter said, was Mr Trump's statement that he would not be attending Joe Biden's inauguration.

"[That] Tweet may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the inauguration would be a 'safe' target, as he will not be attending," it said.

A computer monitor displays Donald Trump's Twitter page after it was removed
Source: Sipa USA

The social media giant added that plans for a future attack on 17 January on the Capitol and other state buildings were being discussed on and off its platform.

The ban prompted Mr Trump to turn to the official @POTUS account to accuse Twitter of conspiring with his political enemies to silence him. 

"Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me - and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me," he said in one of a series of posts that were swiftly deleted.

It came after the accounts of some of Mr Trump’s most hardline supporters, including his former national security advisor Michael Flynn and lawyer Sidney Powell, were also suspended.

The account of Ron Watkins, the administrator of the 8kun online forum that is a haven for QAnon content, was also suspended.

Twitter’s decision to ban Mr Trump was quickly mooted as a boon for the fringe social media platform Parler, which promotes itself as a haven for free speech and is used by right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists.

But shortly after Mr Trump’s suspension, Google announced it would remove Parler from its Play Store until the app adds “robust” content moderation.

Apple, meanwhile, has given Parler 24 hours to submit a detailed moderation plan or it will also remove the app.


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Published 9 January 2021 at 10:30am, updated 9 January 2021 at 1:58pm
By Rashida Yosufzai