Twitter suspends accounts for breaking Trump ban

Accounts had names playing on Trump themes and sought to amplify posts shared on the former US president’s website

Former US president Donald Trump released a statement on May 5, 2021 condemning his suspension from Facebook and Twitter. AFP
Former US president Donald Trump released a statement on May 5, 2021 condemning his suspension from Facebook and Twitter. AFP

Twitter on Thursday confirmed it pulled the plug on several accounts trying to skirt its ban on former US president Donald Trump by promoting his blog posts.

The former president launched a page on his website this week promising comment “straight from the desk of Donald J Trump”.

The page was made public shortly before Facebook’s independent oversight board on Wednesday upheld the platform’s ban on Mr Trump.

Twitter said accounts with names playing on Trump themes and seeking to amplify his website posts were taken offline.

“As stated in our ban evasion policy, we’ll take enforcement action on accounts whose apparent intent is to replace or promote content affiliated with a suspended account,” a Twitter representative told AFP.

Twitter said it suspended Mr Trump’s account after the deadly January 6 Capitol riot because there was a risk he would further incite violence, following months of tweets disputing Joe Biden’s US presidential election victory.

False and misleading claims about American politics plummeted, a trend for which Twitter and Facebook are keen to take credit.

With Mr Trump muted, Mr Biden less engaged on social media and no election cycle under way, Americans are now living in a different media landscape.

“The single most important thing was deplatforming Donald Trump,” said Russell Muirhead, a Dartmouth College academic and the co-author of A Lot of People are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy.

The book’s title plays on one of Mr Trump’s most popular sayings, used when promoting unproven theories.

“It has removed a daily blizzard of misinformation from the ecosystem,” Mr Muirhead told AFP.

“Not being bombarded is helping people’s misinformation immune systems to reset themselves and recover.”

Social media was long Mr Trump’s weapon of choice, letting him fire off comments without having to explain or back claims.

Updated: May 7, 2021 12:12 PM

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