In a move rendered effectively meaningless by the fact that the president will be out of office in (at most) 14 days, Twitter has temporarily suspended President Trump for 12 hours after removing three tweets that it said constituted “repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy.”
The move followed an attempted insurrection by Trump supporters earlier Wednesday afternoon, who stormed the Capitol building, protesting the election results after being encouraged by the president himself. The riots culminated in the shooting death of one protester, as well as roughly a dozen arrests.
Following a video in which Trump told the protesters to “go home” while also telling them “we love you” and that they are “special,” Twitter posted a statement on the Twitter Safety account stating that Trump’s account had been temporarily locked.
“As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,” the account tweeted. “This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked. Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”
As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy. https://t.co/k6OkjNG3bM
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 7, 2021
For years, Twitter has faced intense criticism for its treatment of President Trump’s tweets, even as he has relentlessly fomented misinformation and appeared to encourage the proliferation of conspiracy theories. “A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable. With this in mind, there are certain cases where it may be in the public’s interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules,” Twitter has previously said regarding its treatment of Trump’s tweets.