Less than 24 hours after a pro-Trump riot stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook and Instagram had banned President Donald Trump from its platforms. Calling the events at the Capitol "shocking," Zuckerberg said the ban would last "indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks" through the end of Trump's presidency amid the outgoing leader's attempts to "undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power" to President-elect Joe Biden.
In a lengthy statement Thursday, Zuckerberg said that the decision to ban Trump for more than just a few hours, as was announced Wednesday amid the chaos in Washington D.C., was made as Trump used his platform to "condone rather than condemn" the actions of the rioters, and fears arose that he would continue to "provoke further violence."
"Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech," Zuckerberg wrote. "But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government."
He continued, "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. 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."
Following the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters attempting to prevent the Electoral College vote certification from taking place, the president was banned temporarily from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter after failing to condemn the riots, telling the people involved, "We love you, you're very special."
When congressional lawmakers eventually did confirm Biden as the next president in the early hours of the morning, Trump promised an "orderly transition on January 20th" in a statement shared to Twitter by Dan Scavino, White House deputy chief of staff for communications.
"Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th," Trump said in the statement. "I have always said we would continue our... fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it's only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!"