Since Facebook suspended President Trump’s account on January 7, the day after rioters breached the U.S. Capitol, Trump’s Facebook page has gained almost 150,000 new “likes,” according to Newsweek.
Newsweek, citing data compiled by the U.S. analytics company Social Blade, also noted that in that same period, Trump’s YouTube channel, which was later suspended, picked up roughly 100,000 new subscribers.
On January. 7, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the indefinite suspension of Trump’s accounts:
The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.
His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect — and likely their intent — would be to provoke further violence.
Following the certification of the election results by Congress, the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms.
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. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.
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.
On Monday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, referring to the Trump ban by Facebook, told Reuters, “Our ban’s indefinite; we said at least through the transition. We have no plans to lift it … no plans to lift it right now. At least through the transition, we’ve been very clear. There’s obviously so much happening and this is such a big step. We will definitely let people know and be very transparent about any changes to that.”
Asked about other banning public figures, including Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and Donald Trump Jr., Sandberg answered, “Our policies are applied to everyone; we have taken down things that Don Jr. has said; we have taken down things from other world leaders; other people in public office and those policies apply.”
“So the policy that you can’t incite violence; you can’t be part of inciting violence; you can’t even support people who are supporting the call for violence, like these groups we’ve talked about we’re taking down, those policies apply to everyone,” she continued. “We’ll take that stuff down as soon as we can find it.”
Facebook’s actions have been met with widespread criticism, particularly from the right, for what critics say is a double standard in the application of its policies.
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