9 Jan 2021

US President Donald Trump banned from Twitter

3:20 pm on 9 January 2021

Twitter has quickly deleted new tweets from US President Donald Trump from an official government account after the social media site banned his personal account.

US President Donald Trump uses his cellphone as he holds a roundtable discussion with Governors about the economic reopening of closures due to COVID-19, known as coronavirus, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, June 18, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Photo: AFP

Twitter has announced that it has permanently suspended the account of US President Donald Trump due to "the risk of further incitement of violence".

But Trump then used the @POTUS government account - which has 33.4 million followers - to tweet "We will not be SILENCED!" and "Twitter is not about FREE SPEECH". The tweets were removed within one minute.

Trump added that he is considering building his own social media platform in the near future.

No caption

Photo: Twitter

Trump's personal account was locked for 12 hours following the mayhem at the US Capitol on Thursday, but has now been permanently taken off line.

All of the president's tweets are no longer available on Twitter's site, although a full history is accessible here.

"In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action," Twitter said.

The White House did not immediately comment.

Facebook said earlier this week it was suspending Trump's account through until at least the end of his presidential term. He is due to hand over to President-elect Joe Biden on 20 January.

Earlier today, Twitter said it would permanently suspend accounts pushing QAnon content, banning prominent right-wing boosters of its conspiracy theories including Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell.

Flynn, a former national security adviser to Trump, and Powell, a former Trump campaign lawyer, have both been close allies of the president and promoted efforts to cast doubt about his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

Twitter also suspended Ron Watkins, the administrator of fringe message board 8kun, which effectively serves as home base for the QAnon conspiracy movement.

"Given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content," Twitter said in a statement.

QAnon followers espouse an intertwined series of far-fetched beliefs based on anonymous web postings from "Q", who claims to have insider knowledge of the Trump administration.

At the core of the baseless conspiracy theories embraced by QAnon is the idea that Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of child-sex predators that includes prominent Democrats, Hollywood elites and "deep state" allies.

QAnon has been amplified on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, the video streaming service of Alphabet Inc's Google. Its adherents were among those who participated in the Capitol siege that left five people dead.

- more to come

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs