TWITTER has banned President Donald Trump’s account, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence” following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol.
But the US leader's fuming son, Donald Trump Jr, slammed the move, saying that "free speech no longer exists in America. It died with big tech."
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Why has Donald Trump's Twitter account been banned?
Twitter permanently suspended not only Donald Trump's personal Twitter account, but also his campaign account, prompting the president to tweet from the presidential @POTUS account – which Twitter then subsequently deleted.
Twitter Inc announced on January 8 that it had permanently suspended Trump’s account due to the risk of further incitement of violence following the storming of the US Capitol.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the firm tweeted.
It was the first time Twitter has banned a head of state, the company confirmed.
Trump has repeatedly used Twitter and other platforms to wrongly claim his defeat in the November 3 election was due to widespread voter fraud.
He has also shared other conspiracy theories, and had urged supporters to go to Washington on January 6, and march on the Capitol to protest the election result.
Twitter then temporarily blocked Trump’s account on January 6 following the deadly siege of Capitol Hill, and warned that additional violations by his accounts would result in a permanent suspension.
Trump was required to delete three rule-breaking tweets before his account was unblocked.
He returned to Twitter the following day, January 7, with a video acknowledging that Joe Biden would be the next US president.
But on Friday, January 8, Twitter said that two of Trump's tweets posted that day were in violation of its policy against the glorification of violence.
Twitter said that Trump’s tweet that he would not be attending Biden’s inauguration on January 20 was being received by a number of his supporters as confirmation that the November election was not legitimate.
It said another tweet praising “American Patriots” and declaring his supporters “will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” could be seen as “further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an orderly transition.”
He has used his personal @realDonaldTrump account, which has sometimes tweeted more than 100 times a day, to reach supporters, spread misinformation and even fire staff.
What's been the reaction to Twitter's suspension?
Donald Trump is outraged by Twitter's decision.
The president said on January 8 that he is considering using other social media companies or even creating his own in the last set of tweets he sent out before Twitter permanently banned both his personal and campaign accounts.
"As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech," Trump wrote after his ban from the site.
"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," the president tweeted from the @Potus account after @realDonaldTrump got banned.
"Twitter may be a private company," Trump continued, "but without the government's gift of Section 230 they would not exist for long."
"We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future. We will not be SILENCED!" Trump's last tweet read.
A senior administration official told Politico that Trump went "ballistic" after getting kicked off Twitter.
Donald Trump Jr also hit out at the tech giant.
Scorning their ban of his dad, he tweeted: "We are living Orwell’s 1984. Free-speech no longer exists in America.
"It died with big tech and what’s left is only there for a chosen few.
"This is absolute insanity!"
He added: "So the ayatollah, and numerous other dictatorial regimes can have Twitter accounts with no issue despite threatening genocide to entire countries and killing homosexuals etc.
"But The President of the United States should be permanently suspended.
"Mao would be proud."
Minutes after Trump's account was permanently suspended from Twitter, his former political foe Hillary Clinton gloated and "check-marked" his absence on the social media platform.
Critics of major social media platforms, including top Democratic politicians, praised Twitter’s move and said it was long overdue, while Trump supporters expressed outrage.
The Trump campaign’s Twitter account criticized the company for “silencing” the president of the United States.
How is Donald Trump communicating with supporters?
The suspension of Trump’s Twitter account, which had more than 88million followers, silences his primary megaphone days before the end of his presidential term.
BBC News said: "After a week of unprecedented turbulence it's difficult to know what will affect Donald Trump's fortunes more – impeachment if it happens, or the lack of access to his social media soapbox that's been so effective in building and rallying his mass band of supporters."
Members of his family are still tweeting on his behalf, including Ivanka and Donald Jr.
His legions of supporters meanwhile have been lamenting his sudden enforced absence, with one tweeting: "Twitter without Donald Trump is like a Christmas without [a] tree."
The president revealed on January 8 that he is considering using other social media companies or even creating his own platform.
He also added that many conservatives believed social media companies like Twitter and Facebook were unfairly targeting their viewpoints.
"We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future. We will not be SILENCED!" Trump's last tweet thundered.
Has Donald Trump been banned from other platforms?
Following the failed coup of the Capitol and mass rioting by far-right supporters of Trump, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram suspended his accounts until at least after Biden's inauguration.
TikTok has banned videos of Donald Trump inciting people to protest at Capitol Hill because it says they violate its policies.
Videos that feature talk of the riots but condemn violence will be allowed to remain.
It said in a statement: "Hateful behavior and violence have no place on TikTok.
"Content or accounts that seek to incite, glorify, or promote violence violate our Community Guidelines and will be removed."
Hashtags that relate to the riot are also being blocked.
These include #stormthecapitol and #patriotparty.
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