Twitter permanently banned Donald Trump on Friday, making the decision two days after a violent mob of supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as both chambers of Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. "Thank you Twitter" started trending soon after the news broke, as many felt the platform finally did what should have happened months ago. Trump was initially suspended for 12 hours after his tweets during the event. He was briefly able to return and post tweets Friday morning, including his video message on Thursday night. But in one tweet Friday, Trump said the people who voted for him "will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!" Twitter weighed in soon after.
"After close review of recent Tweets from the ["realDonaldTrump"] account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter's statement reads. Twitter noted that it has a "public interest framework" in place so its users can "hear from elected officials and world leaders directly."
However, Trump pushed the limits of that framework. "We made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things," the company noted. "We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement."
On Friday, Trump published two tweets, the first of which was seen by many as another message inciting his base. "The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form," he wrote. Next, he said he would not attend Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.
Twitter broke down both of these tweets to justify suspending the president's account. First, they pointed out that some have seen Trump's decision not to attend Biden's inauguration as confirmation that he still does not see the election results as legitimate, despite releasing a video on Thursday saying there would be a peaceful transition. Twitter noted that Trump's decision to call his supporters "American patriots," even though they interrupted the democratic process Wednesday, should be seen as more support for their actions. The company also noted there have been plans circulating on an off-Twitter for another proposed attack on the Capitol and state capitols on Jan. 17.
Twitter's decision came a day after Facebook suspended Trump's pages there indefinitely. "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote Thursday. "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."
According to Makena Kelly at The Verge, Twitter has said that any attempt by President Trump to circumvent the ban with the "POTUS" account would see those posts deleted. The same would go for Trump attempting to create a second account, leading to a second permanent ban for the president "at first detection."
Twitter tested this when President Trump attempted to post a message to the POTUS account an hour after the initial ban. "As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech," the president's post thread begins. The president continued, pushing the idea of creating his own platform before telling followers to "stay tuned." Twitter removed the thread within 10 minutes.
The president and his administration continued to try to send out posts and messages through several related accounts. This includes the Team Trump twitter account and those related to his advisers after they offered their accounts up for the president's messages.