Michelle Obama Calls For Trump To Be ‘Permanently’ Banned As Pressure Mounts On Facebook, Twitter And YouTube

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Pressure is mounting on the nation’s leading social media companies to permanently ban Donald Trump from their platforms as former first lady Michelle Obama on Thursday joined the growing number of powerful voices calling for the president’s ouster to prevent him from using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to incite another wave of violence.

Trump has been blocked from posting to Facebook and Instagram “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday, January 7, 2021.

But Obama along with civil rights groups says he needs to be banned for good and condemned Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube for failing to stop the flood of extremist and dangerous content from Trump and his supporters that they say fueled Wednesday’s violence.

“Now is the time for Silicon Valley companies to stop enabling this monstrous behavior –and go even further than they have already by permanently banning this man from their platforms and putting in place policies to prevent their technology from being used by the nation’s leaders to fuel insurrection,” Obama said in a statement posted to Twitter Thursday.

For years, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have largely resisted repeated calls to rein in the president. Even during and after the election when Trump made claims of voter fraud, they labeled his posts rather than remove them.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt blamed Trump for Wednesday’s deadly events but also said the responsibility rested on the shoulders of the major tech companies.

“It’s long overdue for Silicon Valley to step up and not just to temporarily take Trump off their platforms but to ban him permanently. He has used their products to incite an act of domestic terror in the heart of our government, in the temple of our democracy. This is a federal crime,” Greenblatt told USA TODAY.

He said the companies were feeling the pressure.

“Freedom of expression is not the freedom to incite violence. That is not protected speech in any public place,” Greenblatt said. “And these are private businesses who can choose what customers they serve and don’t serve.”

“For four years, Facebook and Twitter have given the President a platform to spew dangerous, violent lies and cause untold harm to our democracy. Facebook has finally taken the long-overdue step of blocking the President’s account – at least for the next 13 days – but I’m deeply frustrated that it took a group of domestic terrorists storming the Capitol before they were willing to do so,” Thompson said in a statement.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, the LGBTQ advocacy organization, called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to ban Trump “before he puts more people in danger.”

“Donald Trump has long peddled in lies and conspiracy theories, incited violence, and encouraged white supremacy, using social media platforms to amplify his ignorance, misinformation, and hate, placing every American at risk,” Ellis said in a statement.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, also called for permanent bans of Trump’s accounts and said “nothing short of that will meet this moment.”

“For four years, Facebook and Twitter have given the President a platform to spew dangerous, violent lies and cause untold harm to our democracy. Facebook has finally taken the long-overdue step of blocking the President’s account – at least for the next 13 days – but I’m deeply frustrated that it took a group of domestic terrorists storming the Capitol before they were willing to do so,” Thompson said in a statement.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, the LGBTQ advocacy organization, called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to ban Trump “before he puts more people in danger.”

“Donald Trump has long peddled in lies and conspiracy theories, incited violence, and encouraged white supremacy, using social media platforms to amplify his ignorance, misinformation, and hate, placing every American at risk,” Ellis said in a statement sent to USA TODAY.

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