Get access to Protocol
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have taken down a video that President Trump posted amid the violence on Capitol Hill, claiming it had the potential to spread misinformation and lead to real-world harm.
YouTube was the first to take down the president's post because it violated the company's policies against election misinformation. Facebook followed shortly after, and then Twitter, which removed three of Trump's tweets from the day and locked the president's account. "Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account," Twitter warned.
In the video, Trump tells the aggrieved rioters they are "special" and says, "We love you." The president then tells his supporters to "go home" but validates their pain over "election fraud," the subject of the day's chaotic protests. His message was sent out as the rioters continued to breach House and Senate buildings, a situation that escalated throughout the day as at least one person died after being shot.
"As the situation at the United States Capitol Building unfolds, our teams are working to quickly remove livestreams and other content that violates our policies, including those against incitement to violence or regarding footage of graphic violence," said Farshad Shadloo, a YouTube spokesperson.
Twitter had previously limited users' ability to interact with the video, claiming in a label that it has been restricted "due to a risk of violence." But later in the day, Twitter deleted the video and another tweet from the president altogether, marking one of the toughest actions it has ever taken against Trump.
Facebook's label, before the post was taken down, said the U.S. has "laws, procedures and established institutions to ensure the peaceful transfer of power."
"We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence," said Facebook's vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.
YouTube's aggressive move came after it was heavily criticized for a hands-off approach to election misinformation during the 2020 U.S. election.
The video is still easy to find on YouTube as long as it is posted by legitimate news outlets.
Update: This article was updated throughout with new information.
Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.