17:41 GMT20 January 2021
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    Twitter moved to restrict social media engagement with tweets authored by US President Donald Trump and others after pro-Trump demonstrators protesting the results of the 2020 US presidential election breached the Senate and House of Representatives in Washington, DC, prompting both chambers of Congress to go under lockdown.

    The Twitter Safety team announced Wednesday evening that it would be locking the US president's personal Twitter account for 12 hours after he removes a total of three tweets "that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy." 

    "This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets," the social media team tweeted. "If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked." 

    Earlier Wednesday, the social media platform's safety team announced it would be "working proactively to protect the health of the public conversation occurring on the service and will take action on any content that violates the Twitter Rules." 

    "Threats of and calls to violence are against the Twitter Rules, and we are enforcing our policies accordingly," the Twitter team wrote on January 6. 

    "In addition, we have been significantly restricting engagement with Tweets labeled under our Civic Integrity Policy due to the risk of violence," Twitter Safety highlighted.

    Echoing Twitter, Facebook announced it is locking Trump's official page for 24 hours.

    An hour later, the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri tweeted in response to its parent company Facebook, "We are locking President Trump’s Instagram account for 24 hours as well."

    Hours after the move, Snapchat also joined the social media giants in restricting Trump's ability to share new content until the app decides to unlock his account.

    “We can confirm that earlier today we locked President Trump’s Snapchat account”, Snap spokeswoman Rachel Racusen said in a statement.

    Netizens quickly took notice to Twitter's policy enforcement, as at least three posts tweeted from Trump's account were deleted soonafter. One of the tweets deleted by the social media platform took aim at US Vice President Mike Pence, who - as president of the US Senate - is presiding over the Electoral College vote certification. 

    "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country [sic] and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!" Trump said in a tweet that was soon flagged by Twitter as a disputed "claim of election fraud." 

    The social media platform's advisory also claimed Trump's tweet could potentially contribute to the "risk of violence" occurring in the nation's capital. While Twitter blocked users from liking, retweeting and replying to some of Trump's flagged tweets, the website ultimately deleted Trump's anti-Pence tweet - as well as two other posts issued later Wednesday afternoon. 

    Social media giants Facebook, which owns Instagram, and YouTube also cited potential violence in Washington, DC, as motivation to remove content published by the US president.

    While Twitter allowed Trump's livestream address to remain on its website, Facebook and YouTube removed the US president's speech from their respective platforms.    

    "The violent protests in the Capitol today are a disgrace," Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told CNN. "We prohibit incitement and calls for violence on our platform. We are actively reviewing and removing any content that breaks these rules."

    "Our brightest days are before us," Trump told supporters in Washington, DC, for the "Save America" march. "One of our great achievements will be election security. Because nobody, until I came along, had any idea how corrupt our elections were." 

    "We're going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we're going to the Capitol," the outgoing US president remarked. He went on to tell his supporters that it is a lost cause to try and switch a Democrat's vote in Congress' Electoral College certification session. 

    "The Democrats are hopeless. They're never voting for anything. Not even one vote. But we're going to try and give our Republicans-- the weak ones because the strong ones don't need any of our help. We're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country," Trump told supporters, who then broke out into a "U-S-A" chant before marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. 

    After energizing protesters, the US president took to Twitter some hours later and urged pro-Trump demonstrators to "remain peaceful. No violence!"   
    "Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!" he tweeted.

    A YouTube spokesperson told The Verge that teams have “working to quickly remove livestreams and other content that violates our policies, including those against incitement to violence or regarding footage of graphic violence." 

    According to the spokesperson, YouTube site moderators have been actively removing streams that are viewed to incite or encourage violence. Footage that showed people carrying firearms in the nation's capital were also allegedly removed. Though legal gun owners can carry their firearm in a concealed state, Washington, DC, does not permit open carry for civilians.  

    While social media sites appear to be taking more accountability for content disseminated via their platform, notorious comedian Sacha Baron Cohen urged industry executives to do more to combat the "violent attack on American democracy" committed by Trump. 

    ​"Is that FINALLY enough for you to act?!" Cohen asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Google, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. Prior to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide anti-racism protests, social media websites took a more laissez-faire approach to the US president's social media posts.  

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    Trump Admin Pushes for More ‘Midnight’ Rules Changes, Reinterpreting Key Civil Rights Laws
    Tags:
    Voter Fraud, US Election 2020, Inauguration, Kamala Harris, social media, Twitter, US Congress, Donald Trump, Joe Biden
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