Twitter has blocked the account of United States President Donald Trump for at least 12 hours while Facebook blocked him for 24 hours over policy violations.
The decisions mark a major departure for the companies, which have until now have given Trump special protections that stop him being punished for breaking their rules.
Facebook sent an internal memo to staff announcing Mr Trump’s latest video was removed, while a company spokesperson confirmed to The New York Times that he has been blocked from the platform.
We’ve assessed two policy violations against President Trump’s Page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time.
Twitter, meanwhile, suggested its exemptions are no longer in effect and that one more post that breaks Twitter’s rules could leave Trump suspended entirely.
A suspension would mean that not only would Trump be unable to share new posts, but his old tweets would also likely no longer be visible too. Twitter wrote in a series of posts on its ‘Safety’ 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 and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy.
This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.
Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.
Trump has repeatedly broken Twitter’s rules, but the company has long maintained that Trump’s status as a newsworthy person and elected official mean that the posts should not be removed or hidden in the same way.
The change of policy came after a series of tweets in which Trump appeared to endorse the rioters who stormed the Capitol Building in support of the president.
In the posts, Trump asked those involved to go home but called them “very special” and said, “We love you”. He also repeated his claim that he won last year’s election.