Jan. 7 (UPI) — President Donald Trump will be banned from Facebook and Instagram indefinitely, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday, a day after the president’s supporters besieged the U.S. Capitol.
Zuckerberg said the social media platforms will extend a temporary ban on Trump’s posts “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks” until the “peaceful transition of power” to President-elect Joe Biden is complete.
The Facebook CEO’s decision came as Trump appeared to be taking the steps demanded by his favorite social media platform, Twitter, to end a similar temporary ban imposed after the Capitol siege.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote after initially suspending Trump for just 24 hours as he appeared to encourage the rioters with a pair of posts.
The ban was extended after “the shocking events of the last 24 hours” as hundreds of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol and forced lawmakers meeting to certify Biden’s Electoral College victory to scramble for their own safety, the CEO said.
The riots “clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power” and show he is intent on using Facebook “to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government,” Zuckerberg said.
Facebook’s initial ban, which expired Thursday morning, was criticized by some as too lenient.
“Facebook and Twitter giving Trump a little time out is NOT ENOUGH,” British comedian and actor Sasha Baron Cohen tweeted. “Trump instigated an act of domestic terrorism against America. Facebook and Twitter have banned other extremists PERMANENTLY.”
Meanwhile, three tweets which Twitter had condemned as “severe violations of our civic Integrity policy” had been deleted by early Thursday, company officials told USA Today.
The platform had earlier said the president’s account would remain locked for good if the tweets were not removed.
Hours after the insurrection began, Trump released a video statement on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in which he continued to repeat claims that the election was “stolen from us” but called on people to leave the Capitol and go home.
Facebook and YouTube removed the video with Facebook Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen saying “it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence” and YouTube saying it repeated false information about the outcome of the election.
Twitter initially restricted the video, preventing people from liking, retweeting or replying to the post and later followed suit in removing it.