US Election: Twitter bans Donald Trump 'due to the risk of further incitement of violence'

Twitter has permanently suspended US President Donald Trump's Twitter account.

"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," the social network said in a statement on Saturday (NZ time). 

"In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.

"Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.

"However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules and cannot use Twitter to incite violence. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement."

In the lead-up and wake of the US election last year, Twitter began marking some tweets by the US President as misleading or false. In the past few days it even deleted some, saying there was a risk he was inciting violence.

Trump, as President, had been largely immune to Twitter's normal rules - the social network in the past saying the public had a right to see what world leaders were saying, even if it was in breach of the site's guidelines. 

In his time on Twitter, Trump reportedly sent 57,067 tweets. Of those, 471 were flagged for misinformation and he deleted 1166 himself. 

The Washington Post reports hundreds of Twitter staff signed an internal letter to Twitter boss Jack Dorsey demanding action on Trump's account after the US Capitol riot earlier this week. 

To Parler?

Many Trump fans have left Twitter in recent months, many for rival app Parler, which has a much looser moderation policy. But Apple has threatened to remove the Parler social networking service from its App Store unless the company changes its content moderation policies, Parler chief executive John Matze told Reuters on Friday.

In a letter from Apple's App Store review team to Parler seen by Reuters, Apple cited instances of the service being used to make plans to descend on Washington, DC, with weapons after a mob stormed the US Capitol building on Wednesday.

"We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington DC on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property," Apple's letter said.

"The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities."

Apple said Parler had 24 hours to clean up the app, including putting in a "moderation improvement plan". 

Apple declined to comment.

Trump had tens of millions of followers on Twitter.
Trump had tens of millions of followers on Twitter. Photo credit: Getty

Apple's move comes after Twitter banned former national security adviser Michael Flynn and pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell, both of whom have spread fake QAnon-themed conspiracy theories, but before Twitter banned Trump.

"Given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content," Twitter said in a statement.

QAnon is a wide-ranging collection of conspiracy theories birthed on extremist web forums in recent years. The Capitol rioter photographed wearing horns, Jake Angeli, is a well-known believer in the bizarre, incoherent conspiracy, and is also known as 'Q Shaman'. 

A number of people involved in what President-elect Joe Biden called domestic terrorism have been arrested, and the FBI is hunting the rest. 

Reuters / Newshub.