"We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday. "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."
The context for Facebook's change of heart is fairly clear, but it's nonetheless a big move for the company that has spent so much of the last four years justifying the idea that President Trump could do almost whatever he wanted on the platform, simply by virtue of the fact that he was the president. For Zuckerberg, the move seemed to come out of a recognition of Trump's true intentions: "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," he wrote. Facebook has long condoned Trump's "controversial speech," but recent events have clearly crossed an internal line.
Facebook critics said this was too little too late, and that Trump's intentions on Facebook and elsewhere have been clear long before Wednesday's riots. And Facebook's now in a tricky position, given that it seems unlikely that if and when Trump comes back on the platform, he'll operate differently than he has in the past.