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Facebook, YouTube Pull Trump Video; Twitter Locks Trump Account

Trump supporters left a flag outside the Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
Trump supporters left a flag outside the Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Facebook and Alphabet’s YouTube took down a video from President Donald Trump on Wednesday that continued to make the baseless claim the election was fraudulent as he told supporters who had stormed the U.S. Capitol to go home.

Twitter restricted users from retweeting the video "due to a risk of violence," as hundreds of protesters sought to force Congress to undo the president's election loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. Twitter restricted a later tweet from Trump that again falsely alleged he had won the election.

Later Wednesday night, Twitter locked the president’s account for 12 hours over "repeated and severe violations" of the social media platform's civic integrity rules and threatened permanent suspension.

Facebook Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen tweeted that it believed the video "contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence," saying the action was part of "appropriate emergency measures."

Google-owned YouTube said the video violated its policy against content that alleges "widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Election." YouTube spokesman Farshad Shadloo added the company does allow copies that include additional context.

Social media companies have been under pressure to police misinformation on their platforms around the election. Trump and his allies have continuously spread unsubstantiated claims of election fraud that have proliferated online.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League called for social media companies to suspend Trump's accounts, saying the events at the Capitol resulted from "fear and disinformation that has been spewed directly from the Oval Office."

Former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos tweeted: "Twitter and Facebook have to cut him off. There are no legitimate equities left and labeling won't do it."

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to researchers and public postings, violent rhetoric and advice on weaponry ramped up significantly in the past three weeks on many social media platforms as multiple groups planned rallies for Wednesday, including Trump supporters, white nationalists and enthusiasts of the wide-ranging conspiracy theory QAnon.