Online platforms have taken action against President Donald Trump in response to his encouragement of a pro-Trump mob that attacked the US Capitol on January 6th. That day, Facebook and Twitter removed some of Trump’s social media posts, a video, and instituted short-term bans on Trump’s accounts.
But on January 7th, platforms began taking more drastic action, with Facebook deciding to ban Trump “indefinitely,” and Shopify taking down Trump’s campaign store (which sold Make America Great Again hats). More actions may follow.
We’ll be following the situation closely, and you can keep up with all of the developments right here.
Donald Trump is allowed to rejoin Twitter, Elon Musk has announced. Musk justified that decision based on the results of his own personal Twitter poll. The @realDonaldTrump account and its tweets are fully visible again, just days after Trump confirmed he will run for president again in 2024.Read Article >
Shortly after taking control of the social network, Musk said he wouldn’t be reinstating any banned accounts until the company had set up and convened a content moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints.”
May 5, 2021
After months of waiting, today Facebook’s Oversight Board finally handed down the biggest ruling of its short existence — the question of whether to uphold the ban on Donald Trump. The verdict? Send the question back to Facebook, and give them six more months to decide.Read Article >
In fairness, it wasn’t quite that bad. The initial ban was upheld, and the board made specific rulings on the questions of whether Trump’s posts were inciting violence, and whether world leaders should get special treatment. For now, Facebook can continue to block Trump, which means that on the face of it, this is a win for anti-Trumpers. Unless you’re visiting his self-hosted website, you’ll remain blessedly safe from Trump posts.
Mar 10, 2021
Apple has reportedly denied social media company Parler’s bid to reenter the iOS App Store, saying its platform hasn’t addressed problems with offensive content. Bloomberg reported the news earlier today, quoting a message reportedly sent on February 25th.Read Article >
According to Bloomberg, Apple said that Parler’s latest community guidelines still didn’t meet its standards. “Simple searches reveal highly objectionable content, including easily identified offensive uses of derogatory terms regarding race, religion and sexual orientation, as well as Nazi symbols,” it reportedly told Parler. “For these reasons your app cannot be returned to the App Store for distribution until it complies with the guidelines.”
Feb 18, 2021
Google removed former president Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign app from Google’s Play Store earlier Wednesday. It wasn’t removed for any of the many other reasons that Trump has been removed from the world’s largest platforms, but rather because it just didn't work, Android Police reports.Read Article >
Prior to its suspension, the app provided campaign news, an event schedule, and ways to donate to the campaign, but at some point, it stopped working, prompting Google to take it down. Android Police confirmed that the app was non-functional before Google removed it. When Android Police tested the app, it was “unable to load content, reporting a network error or simply spinning a loading ‘T’ circle endlessly.” The iOS version of the app is still on the Apple App Store and still working, however.
Jan 21, 2021
Facebook vice president Nick Clegg says the company is referring its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump from its platform to its newly established Oversight Board for a complete review. Trump’s Facebook account was suspended indefinitely on January 7th after he incited his followers to attack the US Capitol on January 6th. Six people died in the ensuing riots.Read Article >
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that “the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service... are simply too great.”
Facebook has updated its Inauguration Day preparations to include a temporary ban on ads that promote weapon accessories and protective equipment at least through January 22nd “out of an abundance of caution,” the company said in a new blog post Saturday. “We already prohibit ads for weapons, ammunition and weapon enhancements like silencers. But we will now also prohibit ads for accessories such as gun safes, vests and gun holsters in the US,” the statement reads.Read Article >
The ban comes after Facebook was criticized for allowing posts across its platforms that promoted and organized the deadly January 6th attack on the Capitol building. The ads for military gear such as body armor and gun holsters ran next to Facebook and Instagram posts about the insurrection at the Capitol that included calls for violence, as first reported by BuzzFeed News,
Some Twitter employees have set their accounts to private and scrubbed their online biographies over concerns they may be targeted by supporters of President Trump, the New York Times reported. In addition, some Twitter executives have been assigned personal security as the company reckons with its decision to bar one of its loudest voices.Read Article >
Trump’s @realDonaldTrump account was permanently suspended from Twitter January 8th, “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said in its statement. The president told supporters at a rally just before an attack on the Capitol January 6th they would “have to show strength,” and “fight much harder,” encouraging them to walk down to the Capitol. Trump tweeted that Vice President Mike Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done,” and later — while the attack was still ongoing— tweeted “we love you” to his supporters. The House of Representatives impeached Trump a second time on January 13th for “incitement of insurrection.”
Short-term rental site VRBO does not plan to cancel reservations in the DC area during the inauguration next week, even though competitor Airbnb has already done so. First reported by BuzzFeed News, VRBO said in a blog post Friday afternoon that it was “encouraging hosts to cancel bookings during this time,” if they believed a guest was violating its policies, but stopped short of a blanket cancellation.Read Article >
Following the January 6th attack on the Capitol that left six people dead, DC-area officials said in a joint statement that they were “encouraging Americans not to come to Washington, D.C. and to instead participate virtually” in the inauguration.
Jan 16, 2021
Facebook won’t let people create events that take place “in close proximity” to the White House, the US Capitol building, or any state capitol buildings through Inauguration Day, the company announced on Friday. The move builds upon Facebook’s previously announced Inauguration Day preparations aiming to prevent the platform from being used to organize a violent event like the January 6th attack on the US Capitol.Read Article >
Facebook is also doing a “secondary review” of all inauguration-related events and will remove those that violate the platform’s rules. The company is also continuing a policy that blocks pages and accounts based outside the US from creating events located in the US. That policy was first put in place for the US presidential election.
Jan 14, 2021
On January 8th, Twitter permanently banned President Donald Trump, and proceeded to play whack-a-mole as he attempted to dodge that ban by using different Twitter accounts, each of which Twitter suspended in turn.Read Article >
And yet less than a week later, a Trump video has been posted on the official @WhiteHouse account delivering a new video speech. The speech is not inflammatory — quite the opposite. It features Trump denouncing violence, lawbreaking, and vandalism.
Jan 14, 2021
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, in a series of Tweets, explained that he felt banning US President Donald Trump’s account was the right move for the social network. “Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he wrote.Read Article >
Dorsey blamed Twitter’s failure “to promote healthy conversation,” acknowledged that Twitter needs to “look critically at inconsistencies of our policy and enforcement,” and said that social platforms needed more transparency around moderation.
Jan 14, 2021
Snapchat will permanently terminate President Trump’s account, Snap announced on Wednesday. Snap had indefinitely suspended Trump’s account last week after he incited a pro-Trump mob to attack the US Capitol, and it has now made the decision to make that suspension permanent. The news was first reported by Axios.Read Article >
“Last week we announced an indefinite suspension of President Trump’s Snapchat account, and have been assessing what long term action is in the best interest of our Snapchat community,” Snap said in a statement shared with The Verge. “In the interest of public safety, and based on his attempts to spread misinformation, hate speech, and incite violence, which are clear violations of our guidelines, we have made the decision to permanently terminate his account.”
Jan 13, 2021
In a filing on Tuesday, Amazon responded to Parler’s claims that it acted unfairly in taking down the social network — and in the process, gave outsiders a new look at the content that provoked Amazon to suspend Parler’s web services account.Read Article >
Amazon Web Services suspended service to Parler on January 9th, effectively shutting down the social network. It’s failed to secure a replacement web host, and it argued in court that Amazon was exercising unfair monopoly power in taking down the site.
Jan 12, 2021
It’s the second week of 2021. Last week began with an insurrection, siege of the US Capitol building, and rejection of democracy, and it ended with all major social media companies banning the one-time impeached 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.Read Article >
One of those companies was Twitter. On the Donald.win forum, Trump supporters announced a plan to show their discontent by protesting in front of the San Francisco headquarters earlier today. The building was empty, with Twitter employees working from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but there was still a heavy police presence to protect against mob violence. What happened instead was a fairly quiet event, with just a single pro-Trump protester in evidence — and two counter-protesters there to applaud Twitter’s decision to deplatform the outgoing president.
Jan 12, 2021
Salesforce has “taken action” to stop the Republication National Committee (RNC) from sending emails that could incite violence, though the company won’t say what that action is. The RNC is using ExactTarget, a Salesforce tool, for campaign emails.Read Article >
The move, first reported by Motherboard, comes after the Trump campaign sent an email urging supporters to “step up RIGHT NOW” and “defend the integrity of this Election” shortly before the breach of the US Capitol on January 6th.
Jan 11, 2021
Facebook is cracking down on potentially violent sedition ahead of the January 20th inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, including a widespread temporary ban on phrases associated with the mob that attacked the Capitol building on January 6th. The policy, detailed in a post published Monday by Facebook vice presidents Guy Rosen and Monika Bickert, includes any content containing the words “stop the steal,” an unusually aggressive policy that appears to still be rolling out across the network.Read Article >
“We are treating the next two weeks as a major civic event,” the post reads. “We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram... With continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the US presidential election that can lead to violence, and use of the term by those involved in Wednesday’s violence in DC, we’re taking this additional step in the lead up to the inauguration.”
Jan 11, 2021
Peloton, a company known for its internet-connected bikes and treadmills, is wading into the Stop The Steal mess. The company is now preventing users from creating a #StopTheSteal tag from within the app, saying the tag does not “meet our guidelines” when a user goes to create it. Peloton’s community guidelines specifically ban “hate, offensive, and obscene speech” as well as “bullying, harassment, and other offensive behavior.” We’ve reached out for additional clarification about when Peloton began blocking this hashtag and why.Read Article >
Tags on Peloton function as community identifiers. When people join a tag, it appears under their name on the company’s leaderboard during workouts, and they can socialize with other members of that tag. Anyone can create a tag, and new tags are popping up in response to the #StopTheSteal ban. Groups like #StopTheSteall, #StopTheSteel, #StopTheCensorship, and #StopTheFraud are all marked as “new” in the app.
Before Parler went offline early Monday, a researcher says she archived 99 percent of its posts, Gizmodo reported. The researcher, identified only by her Twitter handle, @donk_enby, started archiving Parler posts after the January 6th attack on the Capitol in Washington, DC that left six people dead.Read Article >
Parler has been identified as one of the sites where people who participated in the riot planned and coordinated the attack on the Capitol. @donk_enby says she began cataloging Parler posts on January 6th in an attempt to create a public record. That effort had to be accelerated when Amazon announced on Saturday it was pulling web hosting services from the site for violating its terms of service.
After Parler was banned on both the Apple and Google app stores for failing to curb violent and threatening content on its platform, the social media site is now completely offline as a result of Amazon terminating Parler’s web hosting services. The official Parler website now returns a 403 error, while its app is showing networking errors and can’t load content.Read Article >
Amazon told Parler of its decision late Saturday, in a letter to chief policy officer Amy Peikoff. Its Amazon Web Service (AWS) “cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” the letter to Peikoff states, adding that Parler “poses a very real risk to public safety.”
Jan 11, 2021
The CEO of the conservative-friendly social app Parler said that all of its vendors have abandoned the company following recent bans from Google, Apple, and Amazon.Read Article >
“Every vendor, from text message services to email providers to our lawyers, all ditched us too, on the same day,” Parler CEO John Matze said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.
Jan 10, 2021
Clearview AI’s CEO says that use of his company’s facial recognition technology among law enforcement spiked 26 percent the day after a mob of pro-Trump rioters attacked the US Capitol. First reported by the New York Times, Hoan Ton-That confirmed to The Verge that Clearview saw a sharp increase in use on January 7th, compared to its usual weekday search volume.Read Article >
The January 6th attack was broadcast live on cable news, and captured in hundreds of images and live streams that showed the faces of rioters breaching the Capitol building. The FBI and other agencies have asked for the public’s help to identify participants. According to the Times, the Miami Police Department is using Clearview to identify some of the rioters, sending possible matches to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. And The Wall Street Journal reported that an Alabama police department was also using Clearview to identify faces in images from the riot and sending information to the FBI.
Apple has removed Parler from the App Store, following accusations that the social media app was fostering calls to violence ahead of, and following, the raid on the US Capitol.Read Article >
“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity. Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues,” reads a statement from the company on Saturday evening.
Jan 9, 2021
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), incoming chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is asking mobile carriers and social media platforms to preserve “content and associated metadata” that may be connected to the attack on the US Capitol. Warner said in a statement Saturday that he contacted the CEOs of AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Apple, Facebook, Gab, Google, Parler, Signal, Telegram, and Twitter.Read Article >
“The United States Capitol is now a crime scene,” Warner wrote in his letters. “The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the events of that day, and trying to piece together what happened and the perpetrators involved. The prospect of litigation on behalf of the victims of the mayhem also is highly likely. Messaging data to and from your subscribers that may have participated in, or assisted, those engaged in this insurrection – and associated subscriber information – are critical evidence in helping to bring these rioters to justice.”
Jan 9, 2021
Twitter permanently banned Donald Trump today. For a brief moment, he managed to tweet anyhow — not from @realDonaldTrump, his suspended account, but rather the official @POTUS account reserved for the current President of the United States, one that will be handed over to Joe Biden on January 20th.Read Article >
His message, before it was deleted, cryptically suggested that he will “have a big announcement soon” and that he was looking “at the possibilities of building out our own platform.” Trump is currently deplatformed from most social media.
Jan 9, 2021
Google has suspended Parler from the Play Store, as first reported by Axios reporter Ashley Gold. We’ve confirmed the app is no longer on the store.Read Article >
Here is the full statement, which was shared with The Verge: