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Facebook bans Trump for at least remainder of presidency

CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that Trump’s refusal to condemn rioters showed that he “intends to use his time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power ... "
Image: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress in Washington
President Trump at a rally in Washington on Wednesday contesting the count of Electoral College votes. Jim Bourg / Reuters

Facebook on Thursday banned President Donald Trump from using its social network or Instagram “indefinitely, including the last two weeks of his presidency.

In a post on the site, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that Trump’s refusal to condemn his extremist supporters who stormed and occupied the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday showed that he “intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.”

For weeks leading up to the count of Electoral College votes in Congress on Wednesday, some Trump supporters openly planned a violent confrontation at the Capitol. Trump had repeatedly endorsed the gathering, at which he encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol.

Hours after the rioters began occupying the building, Trump issued a video message on multiple social media platforms instructing them to “go home,” but also repeating the falsehood that he was the true winner of the election.

“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,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”

Twitter, where Trump is particularly active, has not banned Trump’s entire account, but removed the tweets where he addressed his violent supporters and said he could resume control of his account 12 hours after he had deleted those tweets, which he did Wednesday evening.

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YouTube, which has removed several Trump videos in the past month for violating its policies, said that starting Wednesday, it would begin striking any channels that posted content violating its policies, including posting election disinformation, with three strikes within a 90-day period resulting in a permanent ban.

Shopify, which runs online stores for Trump’s campaign, said in an email that it had taken Trump's stores offline

“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,” a spokesperson said.

“As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in an emailed statement that the social media platforms’ actions against Trump were too little, too late.

“Disinformation and extremism researchers have for years pointed to broader network-based exploitation of these platforms,” Warner said. “As I have continually said, these platforms have served as core organizing infrastructure for violent, far right groups and militia movements for several years now.”

CORRECTION (Jan. 7, 2021, 12:25 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of Facebook's founder and CEO. He is Mark Zuckerberg, not Zuckerburg.

Ahiza García-Hodges and Sally Shin contributed.