Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have taken down a video in which President Trump addressed his supporters as a mob of pro-Trump protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon. The sites said the video, in which Mr. Trump seemingly sympathized with protesters and repeated false claims about the election, contributed to ongoing violence and violated misinformation policies.
Twitter and Facebook went a step further and temporarily locked the president’s accounts.
Twitter said that if Trump continues to violate Twitter rules after the 12-hour freeze, the @realdonaldtrump account will be permanently suspended.
Facebook said the company “assessed two policy violations against President Trump’s Page” and that he will not be able to post on the platform for 24 hours. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said it is doing the same.
In the now-removed video, Mr. Trump told his supporters: “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us” — a claim he continues to make even after his own attorney general confirmed there was no evidence of such fraud and courts threw out his lawsuits.
The president continued in the video, “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace.”
“We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt,” he said, before reverting to a message of defiance: “…There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country.”
“But we cant play into the hands of these people,” he told his supporters. “We love you. You’re very special. You see what happens you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home and go home in peace.”
Twitter first flagged the video and blocked Mr. Trump’s followers from commenting, retweeting or liking the video, before taking it down and then locking his account for 12 hours. The president will have to remove the tweets in order for his account to be reinstated, Twitter said.
“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,” it said in a tweet, adding a link to the policy, which bans “manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes” or posting false information about them.
Guy Rosen, who oversees Facebook’s work on safety and integrity, tweeted that the social media site took down Mr. Trump’s video as part of “an emergency situation.”
“We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” Rosen said.
Facebook later stated it is searching for and removing any content “praising and support” of the rioting in Washington, D.C. It is also removing content that “calls to bring weapons to locations across the U.S.,” incites or encourages the events at the Capitol, calls for protests that violate the Washington, D.C. curfew, or attempts to “restage violence” in the coming days.
“We are appalled by the violence at the Capitol today. We are treating these events as an emergency,” Facebook said. “Our Elections Operations Center has already been active in anticipation of the Georgia elections and the vote by Congress to certify the election, and we are monitoring activity on our platform in real time.”
YouTube told CBS News in a statement that the company removed the video from the president’s channel because it “violated our policies regarding content that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Election.”
However, the company will allow copies of the video to be uploaded “with additional context and sufficient educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic (EDSA) value.”
The video has remained live on the Trump campaign’s Parler page, where it has gained 1.3 million views.