Facebook Chucked Its Own Rulebook to Ban Trump

The move is a reminder of social platforms’ power over online speech — and the inconsistency with which they wield it

Will Oremus


Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After four years of accommodating, tolerating, and occasionally wrist-slapping Donald Trump, Facebook chose the morning after a riot breached the U.S. Capitol to suspend the outgoing president from its platform. Several smaller platforms, including Snapchat, Shopify, and Twitch, have taken similar steps, and more dominoes are likely to fall soon.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post shortly before 11 a.m. on Thursday that both Facebook and Instagram have blocked Trump’s account. According to the post, the accounts will be blocked “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.” Zuckerberg wrote:

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…