Donald Trump's Twitter and Facebook accounts have been suspended after he published posts deemed to incite violence amid the deadly Capitol riots. The US President's Twitter account is locked for 12 hours and the social media platform told him to remove three posts related to the unrest. It also threatened to permanently ban the Republican leader if there are any future violations.
Facebook then followed suit, locking the President from posting for 24 hours, citing "two policy violations". It came after the billionaire businessman turned politician posted a series of mixed messages as supporters stormed the US Capitol building on Wednesday evening - with one woman shot dead. His final tweet falsely claimed his "landslide victory" over Democratic rival Joe Biden had been "unceremoniously & viciously stripped away".
In reality, Biden won the Electoral College while gaining seven million more votes than Trump on his way to receiving the most ballots of any US President-elect ever. Trump had previously encouraged supporters to descend on Washington with Congress due to complete proceedings to officially name Biden as the 46th President. Before being shutdown, he implied violence was inevitable, writing "these are the things and events that happen".
He said: "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever!"
The tweet was swiftly axed, while the retweet, like and reply functions on a video which featured the President deemed to have further incited violence were also removed - and Facebook deleted the clip entirely.
In the video, Trump addressed his supporters, whose clashes with police forced a lockdown at the US Capitol building. He told protesters that they "have to go home now", adding "we don't want anybody hurt", but he also reiterated that "this was a fraudulent election".
Twitter added a warning to the video, which read: "This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this tweet can't be replied to, retweeted, or liked due to a risk of violence".
The US Capitol building was overwhelmed by mobs of Trump supporters, with protesters even breaking into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office in unprecedented scenes. Biden was among the world leaders to condemn the riots, which he said do not reflect the spirit of America.
"The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are," he tweeted. What we’re seeing is a small number of extremists... It’s chaos, bordering on sedition, and it must end now."
And former President Barack Obama said: "We’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise," adding "fantasy narrative" of Republicans and their "accompanying media ecosystem" has misled their followers about the truth of the election. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo."
While fellow former President George W. Bush reiterated the protests were an “insurrection” that could do “grave damage” to America. He added he watched the "mayhem" unfolding in "disbelief and dismay".
"This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic - not our democratic republic," the Republican continued.
Bush slammed the crowds’ “appalling lack of respect” for law enforcement and described them as harbouring “passions inflamed by false hopes and falsehoods”. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also moved to slam the rioting crowds, whose actions he labelled a "disgrace".
He wrote in a tweet: "The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power."
And Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said those involved could not accurately be described as protesters.
"Horrendous scenes from the US. These are not ‘protesters’ - this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people."
The @TwitterSafety account tweeted: "In regard to the ongoing situation in Washington, D.C., we are working proactively to protect the health of the public conversation occurring on the service and will take action on any content that violates the Twitter Rules."
It continued: "In addition, we have been significantly restricting engagement with tweets labelled under our civic integrity policy due to the risk of violence. This means these labelled tweets will not be able to be replied to, retweeted, or liked."
Trump's video was viewed more than 10 million times in less than an hour on Twitter. Facebook's vice president of integrity Guy Rosen, meanwhile, tweeted that Mr Trump's video had been removed entirely from their platform.
"This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump's video," he tweeted.
"We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence."
A Facebook spokesman later confirmed: “We've assessed two policy violations against President Trump's Page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time.”
The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday urged Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc to remove Trump from the social media platforms completely. Democrat Frank Pallone wrote: "Enough is enough! Trump is inciting violence and spreading dangerous misinformation that is undermining our democracy and our way of life.
"Social media continues to amplify his anti-democratic rhetoric. It's time for @jack and Mark Zuckerberg to remove Trump from their platforms."
Those inside the Senate chamber, including Trump's vice-President Mike Pence, were evacuated to safety as the riots began. However, the VP and senators have since returned to continue the official vote count procedure.