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Trump Video No Longer On Twitter, Facebook, YouTube Amid Chaos On The Capitol

Facebook on Wednesday removed a video message by President Trump, citing "the risk of ongoing violence."

Facebook executive Guy Rosen called the pro-Trump mob swarming the Capitol an "emergency situation," suggesting the president's video message had the potential of worsening the chaos.

"We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence," Rosen tweeted.

YouTube soon followed suit, although it cited other reasons. In a statement, the company pointed to a policy against content that alleges widespread fraud or errors accounted for President-elect Joe Biden's victory over Trump in November.

Twitter also had the video removed, along with two other tweets from the president egging on the mob and baselessly questioning the result of the election.

In the video, Trump told his supporters who have stormed the U.S. Capitol to "go home now," but the president also baselessly claimed the election was stolen and told his angry backers: "We love you. You're very special."

Twitter initially only restricted the reach of the video over concerns of "a risk of violence."

Twitter restricted engagement on the tweet, blocking retweets, likes and comments on the platform. But Twitter still allowed the video message to be quote-tweeted. Many users did just that, allowing the material to spread around the social network. In the hour after Trump posted it, the video was viewed more than 11 million times on Twitter.

Critics called on Twitter to do more, even suspending Trump's account for repeatedly stoking violence over his unfounded claims over his election loss. Some demanded that the president's accounts on both sites be permanently banned.

"There have been good arguments for private companies to not silence elected officials, but all those arguments are predicated on the protection of constitutional governance," tweeted Alex Stamos, a former top security official at Facebook. "Twitter and Facebook have to cut him off. There are no legitimate equities left and labeling won't do it."

Soon after Facebook and YouTube announced their policies, the video and another of the president's tweets were covered with gray labels saying they were "no longer available."

Trump's short video address followed hours in which the president remained silent as a melee ensued on the Capitol. His supporters violently entered the building, causing lawmakers to be rushed out to safety and law enforcement to draw their guns.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bobby Allyn is a business reporter at NPR based in San Francisco. He covers technology and how Silicon Valley's largest companies are transforming how we live and reshaping society.