Timeline: Big Tech’s Not-So-Brief History Of Censoring Donald Trump
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 10: U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions before boarding Marine One while departing the White House on October 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to address a rally in Minnesota later in the day.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

On Wednesday, Facebook’s “Oversight Board” is expected to announce whether President Donald Trump’s controversial and unprecedented ban on Facebook and Instagram will be overturned, or made permanent.

“The Board will announce its decision on the case concerning former US President Trump’s indefinite suspension from Facebook and Instagram in the coming weeks. We extended the public comments deadline for this case, receiving 9,000+ responses,” the Oversight Board announced on Twitter. “The Board’s commitment to carefully reviewing all comments has extended the case timeline, in line with the Board’s bylaws. We will share more information soon.”

The announcement is being watched closely, and represents a potentially pivotal moment in Trump’s “social media censorship” timeline.

Here’s a brief history of Trump’s battle with Big Tech.

November 2020 — Twitter adds fact-check labels to Trump’s tweets

As The Washington Post noted, Twitter began “slapping labels on Trump’s posts that he won the 2020 election,” which read, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

January 6 — Facebook removes video of Trump

During the U.S. Capitol building riots on January 6 in Washington, D.C., Facebook removed a video of Trump’s response to the violence. According to The Verge, in the video, “Trump made false claims about the 2020 election results, and told rioters to ‘go home’ hours after the initial invasion began.”

“Facebook cycled through three different labels on the video before the platform decided to remove it outright around an hour after it was posted,” The Verge added. 

January 6 — Twitter and Facebook suspend Trump

In an unprecedented step,” reported the Associated Press, “Facebook and Twitter suspended President Donald Trump from posting to their platforms Wednesday following the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.”

Twitter locked Trump out of his account for 12 hours, and warned that future violations could result in a permanent suspension.

The company required the removal of three of Trump’s tweets, including a short video in which he urged those supporters to ‘go home’ while also repeating falsehoods about the integrity of the presidential election. Trump’s account deleted those posts, Twitter said; had they remained, Twitter had threatened to extend his suspension,” added the AP.

That evening, Facebook and Instagram announced that Trump would not be permitted to post for 24 hours following policy violations.

January 7 — Facebook bans Trump “indefinitely”

Following the January 6 riots in Washington D.C., Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Trump would be banned on both Facebook and Instagram “indefinitely,” and that the ban would not be lifted until after Inauguration Day — at the very least.

“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,” said Zuckerberg. “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.”

“We believe the risks of allowing President Trump to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great, so we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks,” tweeted the Facebook Newsroom.

January 7 — Shopify removes Trump’s Trump’s shops

The e-commerce platform “removed Trump’s campaign merchandise shop and personal brand from its platform in response to the Capitol attack.”

“Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause,” Shopify said in a statement. “As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump.”

January 8 — Twitter bans Trump “permanently”

On January 8, Twitter followed Facebook and announced that they would permanently suspend Trump “due to the risk of further incitement 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,” Twitter wrote in a statement.

In the post, they provided analysis of two “offending” tweets. The first was, “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!!!”

The second was, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

These two tweets were assessed under Twitter’s “Glorification of Violence policy,” with the company concluding that these posts by Trump were “likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”

January 12 — YouTube suspends Trump’s channel

As The Washington Post reported, “Google-owned YouTube suspended Trump’s channel for at least a week,” and that “it removed a video of his Tuesday morning news conference ‘in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence’ that constituted his first strike.” In addition, YouTube “also indefinitely disabled comments from his channel.”

January 14 — Snapchat permanently disables Trump’s account

On January 14, Snapchat permanently disabled Trump’s account.

In the interest of public safety, and based on his attempts to spread misinformation, hate speech, and incite violence, which are clear violations of our guidelines, we have made the decision to permanently terminate his account,” Snap Inc. spokeswoman Rachel Racusen said in an email.

January 14 — Twitch disable Trump’s account “indefinitely”

As The Washington Post continued, “Amazon-owned video service Twitch disabled Trump’s channel indefinitely on Thursday in response to the Capitol riot.”

“Given the current extraordinary circumstances and the President’s incendiary rhetoric, we believe this is a necessary step to protect our community and prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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