Civil Rights Organizations Call on Social Media Giants to Permanently Ban Trump

Twitter says Trump's account will be permanently suspended after Facebook 'indefinitely' banned the president from its platform following Capitol riots

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Supporters of President Donald Trump demonstrate on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol near the entrance to the Senate after breaching security defenses, in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.
Supporters of President Donald Trump demonstrate on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol near the entrance to the Senate after breaching security defenses, in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. Credit: Mike Theiler/ REUTERS
Danielle Ziri
Danielle Ziri
New York

NEW YORK - The Stop Hate for Profit coalition – which orchestrated the largest advertiser walk-out ever of Facebook last summer over the platform’s handling of hate speech – called Friday on social media companies to permanently ban U.S. President Trump following this week’s violent events at the U.S. Capitol. 

“If platforms do not remove Donald Trump by the presidential inauguration on January 20, when there must be a peaceful transition, the Coalition will call on companies to stop advertising on those platforms,” the group wrote in a statement. 

The coalition is made up of civil rights organizations and advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, Common Sense Media, Free Press, LULAC, Mozilla, NAACP, National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and Sleeping Giants. The latest effort, under the hashtag #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy, is also supported by British-Jewish actor Sacha Baron Cohen. 

Later on Friday, Twitter said that it has permanently suspended Trump's account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.

"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," the company said in a tweet.

Twitter had temporarily blocked Trump's account earlier this week following the siege of the Capitol and warned that additional violations by the president's accounts would result in a permanent suspension.

On Thursday, Facebook said it would block Trump's accounts "indefinitely" and for at least the next two weeks until the presidential transition is completed. Twitter also deleted some of Trump's posts which “violated Twitter Rules.” 

“Access to these services is a privilege, one that Donald Trump clearly has forfeited based on an indisputable pattern of behavior that preceded his calls to violence this week,” the coalition's statement said. “As the entire world witnessed on Wednesday, President Trump has profoundly eroded our trust in democracy by using social media to relentlessly spread his big lie about a ‘stolen election’."

The social media platforms, they added, “unconscionably permitted the president to catalyze violence and promote sedition in our nation’s capital” and continue to allow far-right extremists including white supremacists, QAnon, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and others to post freely.

“For far too long, Big Tech has put profits over people and endangered our democracy by looking away as President Trump continuously and unapologetically violated each company’s respective Terms of Service with his constant output of disinformation, hatred and incitement,” the group stressed. 

The coalition also expressed its concern for what may happen after President-elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

“It is clear that the seeds of hate have already been sown through countless tweets and posts and streams that have burst forth into a violent real-world reality,” they said.

“The racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, islamophobia, and other forms of hate on display this week at the United States Capitol are easy to find with the click of a button on platforms that serve billions of people around the globe.”

Platforms must make a simple choice, the group said, and decide “once and for all choose which side of history they want to be on – with Donald Trump and the domestic terrorists that he incited this week, or with America’s families, leaders, and advocates to safeguard our democracy and protect its children.” 

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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