Facebook bans Trump through Biden inauguration, maybe longer


President Trump will no longer be able to use his official Facebook account after the company banned him following the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol. The ban was announced by founder Mark Zuckerberg. 

“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. “Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”

The ban, which extends to Mr. Trump’s Instagram account, will last until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration “and the peaceful transition of power is complete,” Zuckerberg added.

The news comes as social media titans have begun taking a heavy-handed approach to Mr. Trump’s divisive rhetoric, locking his accounts in an effort many have criticized as too late. Twitter also temporarily locked Mr. Trump’s accounts after he posted a video message making false claims about the election and failing to condemn his supporters for their violence at the Capitol. 

With only 13 days before Mr. Biden’s inauguration, many elected officials have remained concerned that Mr. Trump would use his social media account to continue to spread misinformation.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have all instituted measures to curb the spread of falsehoods, like flagging many of Mr. Trump’s posts as untrue and removing them from the platforms entirely.

Zuckerberg said Facebook allowed Mr. Trump to use the platform, while sometimes flagging his posts as misleading, to demonstrate the public’s right to broad access to political speech. But now, Zuckerberg said, Mr. Trump used the platform to “incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.”

“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,” Zuckerberg said.

Following Mr. Biden’s inauguration, the Twitter account @POTUS will transfer over to the Biden administration without any of Mr. Trump’s followers, a change from the Obama-Trump transition. However, Mr. Trump will still be able to access his @realdonaldtrump account, just without the same protections previously given to him as a world leader.

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