New Delhi: Facebook Inc and Instagram decided on Thursday (January 7) to extend a ban on US President Donald Trump`s accounts for at least the next two weeks until the presidential transition is completed, said Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who also denounced the riot that occurred at the Capitol Hill when President Trump's supporters stormed a joint session of Congress.
On Wednesday, Twitter, Facebook, and Snap Inc temporarily blocked Trump`s accounts as tech giants scrambled to crack down on his baseless claims about the US presidential election and hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol.
In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg said, "The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden."
"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. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect -- and likely their intent -- would be to provoke further violence," he said.
According to Zuckerberg, "Following the certification of the election results by Congress, the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms."
"Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government, he added.
The Facebook CEO said, "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. 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."
Earlier, thousands of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building here and clashed with police, resulting in four deaths and interrupting a constitutional process by Congress to affirm the victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the election.
The Electoral College votes of Biden and Harris were finally approved early on Thursday after both the Senate and the House of Representatives rejected all objections raised by the Republicans to the votes in the states of Pennsylvania and Arizona.
In the presidential election held on November 3, Biden and Harris received 306 electoral votes, while President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence got 232. The counting of Vermont's three electoral votes put Biden and Harris over the 270-threshold needed to win the presidency.
In the violence on Wednesday, four people died, including one woman who was shot by a police officer, amid protests and rioting on Capitol Hill that resulted in dozens of demonstrators being arrested, police said.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump today said that there will be an "orderly" transfer of power to Joe Biden on January 20. Trump's remarks came minutes after a Joint Session of the US Congress formally certified the Electoral College victory of Biden as the next US President and Kamala Harris as the Vice President in the November 3 election.
"Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th," Donald Trump said in a statement.
Commenting on the certification, Trump said the decision "represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history." The formal certification by the Joint Session came in the wee hours of Thursday. The Joint Session resumed its meeting late Wednesday night after it was disrupted by hundreds of supporters of Trump who violently stormed Capitol Hill.
Notably, the US Presidential elections were held on November 3, in which Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won a record number of popular votes, more than 80 millions and earned as many as 306 Electoral College votes.
Donald Trump has refused to concede the election, alleging that there was a massive voters' fraud and electoral malpractice. Election officials, however, have denied the allegations.