WSJ US BusinessFacebook Suspends Trump Indefinitely

January 7, 20210

President Trump spoke to supporters at a rally in Washington on Wednesday.

Photo: michael reynolds/Shutterstock

Facebook Inc. placed its harshest restrictions yet on President Trump Thursday, blocking him from posting indefinitely a day after the social-media giant and its peers removed posts in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that the ban on Mr. Trump would last at least two weeks—through the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden —adding that the risks of him using the service during this period “are simply too great.” The ban, which applies to Facebook’s flagship blue app and Instagram, was initially due to last 24 hours when Facebook announced it on Wednesday after removing posts from Mr. Trump that reiterated unsubstantiated claims the election was stolen and expressed support for the rioters.

“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,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in the post.

Representatives for the White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook’s announcement comes as social-media companies have been facing increased pressure from some lawmakers and users to take a tougher stance on Mr. Trump, calling for longer account suspension or a permanent ban. On Wednesday, Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc. were among the companies that placed restrictions on posts after protests about the election outcome resulted in pro-Trump rioters invading the Capitol building, clashing with police and threatening lawmakers.

Twitter said Mr. Trump would regain the ability to use his personal account Thursday because he deleted three tweets that violated its policies. Twitter previously blocked the tweets from public viewing, saying they represented repeated and severe violations of its civic integrity policy.

Mr. Trump’s last viewable tweet was posted around 4 p.m. ET in which he asked the people who came to protest at the Capitol to “remain peaceful.”

Twitter also warned that it could enact a permanent suspension of Mr. Trump’s account if he commits further violations.

Danielle Citron, a professor at the University of Virginia Law School and longtime member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety board, has previously argued in favor of suspending Mr. Trump’s account, citing harm to public health and U.S. democracy. On Wednesday, she said in an op-ed published by the news outlet Slate that Mr. Trump “needs a serious timeout, perhaps a permanent one.”

A congressional exercise in the peaceful transfer of power devolved into deadly chaos when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. Hours after the riots, Congress reconvened and certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press via ZUMA Wire

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at

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