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Facebook bans Trump for rest of term, could bar permanently

Washington, Jan 7 – Facebook, which had removed a video in which US President Donald Trump urged his supporters, who forced their way into the Capitol, “to go home” but repeated his allegations of fraud in the presidential elections, and blocked his account, announced on Thursday that the restrictions will continue till the end of his term on January 20.

“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. 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,” Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post.

It remains to be seen the future course of Twitter, which had also temporarily blocked Trump from further posting after his supporters violently stormed the Capitol building in Washington D.C.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday night, Twitter had said that Trump’s personal Twitter account will be locked for 12 hours as he violated the platform’s violent threats policies and will be permanently suspended if he continued to do so, reports said.

“Future violations of the Twitter rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account,” Twitter Safety said in a statement, according to Xinhua.

Earlier in the day, several of the President’s tweets had been labelled “disputed” due to the fraud claims.

As mayhem continued in the Capitol and Trump finally released his video, Facebook did not initially remove it and instead added a label about “accurate election info”.

The post was shared about 49,000 times within 30 minutes before it was removed, The Hill news website said in a report.

Regarding the development, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, said in a statement: “This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of the ongoing violence.”

Google-owned YouTube also removed the video, saying that it violated the video-sharing platform’s policies regarding content that alleges widespread election fraud.

Four people, including a woman, were killed inside the Capitol after hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the building to disrupt the joint sitting of the Congress as it was in the process of ratifying the election of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President. The storming came after Trump fired up his supporters who had reached the capital, with a speech repeating his allegations of election fraud and calling them to be strong.

The chaos ultimately led to a lockdown, disruption of the session and eventual evacuation at the Capitol. However, the Congress convened again later to complete its work.