@RealDonaldTrump has gone dark.
President Trump has been permanently banned from his favored social media platform.
For years, as he rose to political prominence and through is presidency, Trump has used Twitter as his personal bully pulpit. Until Friday evening, he enjoyed unfiltered access to more than 88 million supporters and detractors — and an ecosystem of journalists that hung on his every tweet.
Since his election loss in November, Trump has used the platform to sow misinformation and spread distrust of the election result and the certification process, spinning unfounded conspiracy theories that he was robbed of victory by fraud and deceit that he was unable to document in any court of law.
Twitter has long given Trump license to say just about anything. In recent weeks, it had taken to flagging the president’s lie-filled tweets as inaccurate. This week’s violence at the Capitol clearly drove a reconsideration inside the company about the civic cost-benefit of continuing to provide its most famous user a platform.
Twitter’s “Safety” account explained the decision on Friday evening, writing that the extraordinary step had been taken to prevent “the risk of further incitement of violence,” following Trump’s riling of the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6th.
After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021
Twitter had, earlier this week, put Trump in a 12-hour timeout and demanded he remove a series of tweets. The de-platforming of the president occurred after Trump posted a pair of new tweets declaring he would boycott the inauguration of President Joe Biden and praising “American Patriots.”
The pair of offending tweets cited by the company are not incendiary on their face:
“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!!!”
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
But Twitter interpreted them as a veiled invitation to a new round of violence. “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,” the company wrote on its official blog.
Twitter’s move follows a similar step by Facebook, which has suspended Trump from its pages, a ban that will not be lifted until Trump is out of office at the earliest.
Trump’s addiction to Twitter is the stuff of legend. His missives, by turn, could spark laughter (“Covfefe”) and dismay. He’s used the platform to decry the sight of congressman Barney Frank’s nipples through a thin shirt, to weigh in on the love life of actor Robert Pattinson, as well as to fire key personnel (see Tillerson, Rex) and saber-rattle at “Rocketman,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump’s daily tweetstorms have been such a fixture of the platform, it’s hard to imagine that the break up will truly be permanent. A sly new fake account — using an alias Trump formerly used to speak by phone to reporters about himself — made light of a potential return shortly after @readDonaldTrump went dark:
Hello I am brand new to Twitter, what are you guys up to
— John Barron (@barronjohn1946) January 9, 2021
This is a developing story and will be updated