On Wednesday, what was supposed to be a mere formality — a joint session of Congress counting the nation’s electoral votes and officially naming Joe Biden president — dissolved into chaos. Supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building, disrupting the session. Congress members ran for their lives. Someone was shot. Close Trump associates, like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Jim Jordan — who had fanned the flames of baseless voter fraud accusations — tried to talk the rioters down. But when Trump recorded his own video, he spent most of his time making it worse.
That video isn’t as easy seen as it once was. Facebook and YouTube removed it, mere hours after it was posted. Guy Rosen, Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, released a statement, saying, “We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”
statement from VP of Integrity at Facebook https://t.co/DrmaguBFDl
— rat king (@MikeIsaac) January 6, 2021
In the video, Trump didn’t condemn his supporters but praised them. “I know you’re pain,” he began, seeming to channel Bill Clinton. He repeated false claims that the election was “stolen,” that it was “fraudulent,” and that it was a “landslide,” not a mere win. “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order,” he said, adding, “We love you. You’re very special.”
Facebook has mostly refrained from removing Trump’s posts. An exception came in August, when they deleted a video in which he spread COVID-19 misinformation, claiming, falsely, that children are “almost immune,” and that they “have much stronger immunes system than [adults].” On the other hand, they refused to do the same to a post in which the 45th president suggested using violence on Black Lives Matters demonstrators.