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Facebook, YouTube and Twitter Remove Video of Trump Amid Chaos at Capitol

Joshua Roberts / Getty Images

Twitter removed three tweets from the account of President Donald Trump on Wednesday and suspended his account for 12 hours after he continued to push conspiracy theories about the election after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building.

Posted: Jan 6, 2021 6:52 PM
Updated: Jan 6, 2021 6:52 PM

NBC News - Twitter removed three tweets from the account of President Donald Trump on Wednesday and suspended his account for 12 hours after he continued to push conspiracy theories about the election after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building.

The company also warned that further violations of its rules “will result in permanent suspension” of the president’s Twitter account.

One of the tweets contained a video of Trump repeating unfounded claims that the election was taken from him and encouraging his supporters to disperse after violence erupted at the Capitol. He said law and order was needed and added that he loved his supporters.

Facebook and YouTube also removed the video from the president's accounts.

The video showed Trump repeating unfounded claims that the election was taken from him and encouraging his supporters to disperse after violence erupted at the Capitol. He said law and order was needed and added that he loved his supporters.

Twitter removed Trump's post after initially prohibiting it from being retweeted or replied to. It had added a tag to the post that read, "This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this Tweet can't be replied to, Retweeted, or liked due to a risk of violence." Twitter also removed a subsequent tweet by Trump.

Twitter said through one of its company accounts that if the president removes the tweets, his account will be unlocked.

The removals are dramatic steps given past hesitancy to curb the speech of political figures such as the president.

YouTube said in a statement that the video violated "policies regarding content that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome." Facebook said: "The violent protests in the Capitol today are a disgrace. We prohibit incitement and calls for violence on our platform. We are actively reviewing and removing any content that breaks these rules."

Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of integrity, tweeted about the decision to take down the video.

"This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump's video," Rosen said. "We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence."

Twitter's safety team also put out a statement saying the "calls to violence" were a violation of its rules.

"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," the statement said. "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."

The video was tweeted at 4:17 p.m., about three hours after Trump told his supporters to march on the Capitol.

Although social media platforms acted to remove Trump's video, several prominent voices within the tech world were quick to sound off about it and the actions of the social media companies, including venture investor Chris Sacca and Alex Stamos, the former chief security officer at Facebook.

"You've got blood on your hands, @jack and Zuck," Sacca tweeted, addressing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "For four years you've rationalized this terror. Inciting violent treason is not a free speech exercise. If you work at those companies, it's on you too. Shut it down."

Stamos tweeted: "There have been good arguments for private companies to not silence elected officials, but all those arguments are predicated on the protection of constitutional governance. Twitter and Facebook have to cut him off. There are no legitimate equities left and labeling won't do it."

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