“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
Facebook’s suspension marked the most aggressive penalty that any social media company has meted out to Trump over his four-year term, a period in which he has repeatedly peddled falsehoods, attacked critics and spread divisive rhetoric online.
Twitter on Wednesday evening also suspended Trump for 12 hours for the first time, but the company’s blockade lifted Thursday morning — and the president had not yet tweeted.
The tech giants each took the rare aggressive steps after a violent mob stormed the House and Senate Wednesday, forcing lawmakers into a lockdown and briefly interrupting their formal process to certify Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.
In failing to act until after the deadly riot occurred, Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube have faced sharp criticism saying they should have done more, and sooner, to stop Trump from helping provoke the situation.
“While I’m pleased to see social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube take long-belated steps to address the President’s sustained misuse of their platforms to sow discord and violence, these isolated actions are both too late and not nearly enough,” said Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), in a statement.
“Disinformation and extremism researchers have for years pointed to broader network-based exploitation of these platforms.”