In the months leading up to January 6th, 2021, Donald Trump used social media platforms to spread election disinformation and seed the ground for an insurrection, posting to social media “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th…Be there, will be wild!” Participants in the Capitol insurrection then used Facebook to spread disinformation and plan their deadly attack. During the insurrection, Trump used Facebook to direct and escalate the riot in real time. Facebook took down two of Trump’s posts for contributing to the violence.
The day after the insurrection on January 7, 2021, Mark Zuckerberg explained the company’s rationale for indefinitely suspending Trump in a post, saying Trump used “our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.”
In response to its Oversight Board’s decision urging Facebook to set a timeline and criteria for Trump’s reinstatement, Facebook put out a statement, saying Trump will be “suspended for two years” and “will only be reinstated if conditions permit.” Facebook’s statement says prior to Trump’s reinstatement:
“We will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded. We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest. If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.”
Since his suspension, Trump has continued spreading hatred, calls for violence, and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election on his own platform, Truth Social. Nothing about his behavior has changed in the past two years. In fact, it’s escalated as he normalizes political violence against his opposition.
Twitter permanently suspended @realDonaldTrump on January 8, 2021 after finding Trump’s activity was “highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.” After acquiring the company, Elon Musk unilaterally reinstated Trump’s account on November 19, 2022.
On January 8, 2021, TikTok permanently removed Trump’s speeches in which he doubled down on claims of a fraudulent election in violation of TikTok’s policy against misinformation. YouTube indefinitely banned Trump on January 12, 2021, citing “concerns about the ongoing potential for violence.”
Reddit permanently banned the subreddit group “r/DonaldTrump” on January 7, 2021, given “repeated policy violations in recent days regarding violence at the U.S. Capitol.”
Snapchat suspended ‘DonaldTrump’ on January 7, 2021, and permanently banned his account as of January 13, 2021, stating that the decision was “in the best interest of our Snapchat community” for the long term.