ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Social media giants Twitter and Facebook have officially suspended President Trump from using their platforms. This comes after the violence that took place at the Capitol on Wednesday that they believe was incited by the president.
UNM Professor David Weiss said the news of the social media bans was unprecedented but believes it was only a matter of time. “If we have a sitting president who is alleged to or accused of inciting violence, especially violence in the U.S. Capitol and perspective violence to members of the government – including his own Vice President – again we see this crossing the line that has not been crossed before,” said Weiss.
Yesterday, Twitter officially announced that @realdonaldtrump’s account was permanently banned from their platform. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also posted on Thursday they were suspending the president’s account for at least two weeks until there’s a peaceful transition of power.
Both platforms said their decisions were stemming from the breach at the nation’s capitol. Weiss said some people have argued it is against the First Amendment for these companies to ban the president. But Weiss said that’s not the case since they are privately owned and are not government entities.
“As a private company, Twitter is within its rights to cancel anyone’s account, at any time,” said Weiss. “Twitter has no obligation to let anyone have an account with them. They’re not the government, they’re a private company.”
Weiss said Facebook and Twitter have actually given President Trump more leeway than others over the years since he’s the president and said they warned him several times about violating their company’s policies. They put disclaimers on posts or removed some of his posts that they deemed were verifiably false. However, Weiss said the president still has many other ways to communicate with the public. Whether it’s using other social media platforms or simply calling for press conferences.
KRQE asked people on social media what they think of the recent bans with many split on the matter. KRQE did reach out to the Republican Party of New Mexico for comment on the recent news but did not hear back.