Facebook, YouTube pull Trump video after protesters storm U.S. Capitol

Elizabeth Culliford and Paresh Dave, Reuters

Posted at Jan 07 2021 08:29 AM

Facebook, YouTube pull Trump video after protesters storm U.S. Capitol 1
Police clear the U.S. Capitol Building with tear gas as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather outside, in Washington, U.S. January 6, 2021. Stephanie Keith, Reuters

Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's YouTube took down a video from President Donald Trump on Wednesday that continued to make the baseless claim the election was fraudulent as he told protesters who had stormed the U.S. Capitol to go home.

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Facebook's vice president of integrity Guy Rosen tweeted the social media company believed the video "contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence," saying the action was part of "appropriate emergency measures."

Google-owned YouTube said the video violated its policy against content that alleges "widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Election." YouTube spokesman Farshad Shadloo added the company does allow copies that include additional context.

Twitter Inc restricted users from retweeting the video "due to a risk of violence," as hundreds of protesters sought to force Congress to undo the president's election loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.

Twitter also restricted a later tweet from Trump, again falsely alleging he had won the election.

Social media companies have been under pressure to police misinformation on their platforms around the election. Trump and his allies have continuously spread unsubstantiated claims of election fraud that have proliferated online.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League called for social media companies to suspend Trump's accounts, saying the events at the Capitol resulted from "fear and disinformation that has been spewed directly from the Oval Office."

Former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos tweeted: "Twitter and Facebook have to cut him off. There are no legitimate equities left and labeling won't do it."

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to researchers and public postings, violent rhetoric and advice on weaponry ramped up significantly in the past three weeks on many social media platforms as multiple groups planned rallies for Wednesday, including Trump supporters, white nationalists and enthusiasts of the wide-ranging conspiracy theory QAnon.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York, Joseph Menn in San Francisco and Paresh Dave in Oakland; Editing by Lincoln Feast)