As rioters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, Facebook removed a video from President Donald Trump responding to the violence. The decision came around an hour after the video was posted on the platform.
“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video,” Guy Rosen, Facebook vice president of integrity, said in a tweet Wednesday. “We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”
This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.
— Guy Rosen (@guyro) January 6, 2021
In Trump’s video, he responded to the mob violence descending on the US Capitol as lawmakers were set to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. In the minute-long clip, Trump called on rioters to peacefully “go home” hours after the initial invasion began. He also made false claims that the most recent US election results were fraudulent.
“We had an election that was stolen from us,” Trump stated falsely in the video. “It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now.”
Less than an hour later, Facebook also removed a text post from Trump, which sought to justify the attack, telling supporters to “remember this day forever!”
Facebook placed a handful of labels on Trump’s video before finally deciding to remove it altogether. These previous labels focused on debunking Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. YouTube also removed the video, saying in a tweet, “Like other companies, we’re allowing these videos because discussion of election results & the process of counting votes is allowed on YT. These videos are not being surfaced or recommended in any prominent way.”
Twitter first restricted and then removed Trump’s video, citing a “risk of violence.”
Update 6:21PM ET: Added Facebook’s decision to remove Trump’s text post in addition to the video.
Update 6:55PM ET: Added Twitter’s removal of the Trump video.