Trump’s restricted video: Why is Twitter censoring the President?
Looks like enough was enough for Twitter, as the social media platform removed a video posted by President Donald Trump and then actually froze his Twitter account – and all it took was for the Capitol building to be invaded by Trump supporters.
Trump’s video was part of a series of ineffective tweets from the President as he tried to calm down the MAGA rioters that stormed the Capitol building earlier today. Initially, Twitter simply flagged the video and prevented users from liking it, retweeting it or even commenting on it. Soon enough, however, the whole video was taken down, and before you could say “about time, Jack”, Trump’s Twitter account was frozen.
Lights, camera, Trump
President Trump took his sweet time making a statement regarding his supporters’ actions in the Capitol building. When he got around to addressing the crisis, it was through Twitter – a move as typical of Trump as the content of the tweets themselves: a bland call for the MAGA rioters to stop.
The video that followed those tweets was also full of classic Trump moves: the President managed to repeatedly refer to the “fraudulent election” that was “stolen from us” in the online equivalent of pouring gasoline on a raging fire – all while asking his followers to pretty please stop trashing the Capitol and go home.
Twitter’s first action against Trump’s video was, to put a label on it, “This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this Tweet can’t be replied to, Retweeted, or liked due to a risk of violence.” And if the President didn’t like that, he must have had a cow when the video was eventually removed. Oh, to have been a fly in the wall when Trump realized his Twitter account had been frozen.
The crisis in the U.S. Capitol is taking place on the same day Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden, was set to be confirmed as the next President of the U.S. by the Electoral College. Trump has been campaigning against Biden’s electoral victory since Election Day and his followers have been paying attention – Trump’s claims of electoral fraud have proven to be extremely popular on social media, including Twitter.
The volatile energy of President Trump’s calls to action translated into hundreds of his supporters storming the Capitol building, breaking windows and stealing property as they interrupted the confirmation of the Electoral College results. The situation has escalated to the point where 1,100 members of the District of Columbia National Guard and 650 Virginia National Guard troops are set to be deployed on the scene tonight.
Defense and administration officials have stated the deployment of the D.C. National Guard was approved by Vice President Mike Pence, not by President Trump. While it’s unclear why Trump himself didn’t approve the deployment, an administration official has suggested the president didn’t want to be seen calling out the National Guard against his own supporters.
Too little, too late?
The push & pull between Donald Trump’s Twitter account and Twitter’s guidelines for content has been going on for as long as Trump has been in power. The president’s political opponents – and plenty of regular Twitter users as well – have constantly asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to take stricter actions regarding Trump’s account. It seems like Twitter finally decided to comply.
Using its Twitter Safety account, the social media platform informed its users of the new restrictions on President Trump’s 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 violations of our Civic integrity policy.”
Trump’s video seems to have been one of the offending tweets. As for the future of the president’s Twitter account? Twitter Safety elaborated: “This means that the account @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.”