San Francisco/New Delhi: As Big Tech miserably failed to spot, act and tackle the US Capitol chaos going viral and being live-streamed, voices grew louder on Thursday to remove President Donald Trump altogether from digital platforms for inciting the mob and staging the coup, saying blocking him for couple of hours won’t be enough.
Several tech leaders and social activists called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to move beyond labelling Trump messages, and aggressively curb his posts amplifying and endorsing violence.
“Twitter and Facebook have to cut him (Trump) off. There are no legitimate equities left and labeling won’t do it,” Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former chief security officer, said in a tweet.
“You’ve got blood on your hands, (Jack) and Zuck. For four years you’ve rationalized this terror. Inciting violent treason is not a free speech exercise. If you work at those companies, it’s on you too. Shut it down,” posted Chris Sacca, one of the earliest investors in Twitter.
Facebook assessed two policy violations against President Trump’s Page, resulting in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he lost “the ability to post on the platform during that time”.
Twitter said that Trump’s personal Twitter account will be locked for 12 hours as he violated the platform’s violent threats policies and will be permanently suspended if he continues to do so, while YouTube and Instagram removed a controversial Trump video.
However, the action was not enough, said several leaders.
“Enough is enough. It’s time for Facebook and Twitter to kick Trump off their platforms. We’ve been in contact with @Facebook and @Twitter leadership about this but we need your help,” tweeted Rashad Robinson, President, Color of Change.
The organisation also launched a petition that people can use to make a direct appeal to Twitter’s Dorsey.
“Donald Trump has historically violated your terms of service with impunity and now, as a result of his promotion and facilitation of today’s chaos, insurrectionists have stormed our Senate building leaving Senators, staffers, and building employees fearing for their lives,” the petition read.
“There is no excuse for allowing this dangerous user to exploit your platform It’s time to #KickTrumpOffTwitter”.
Accountable Tech, an ethics organisation, tweeted: “Sadly, Twitter and Facebook’s preparedness and response has been wildly inadequate. Simply labeling incitements of violence is not enough.”
Ellen Pao, tech investor and the former CEO of Reddit, said the chaos is directly linked to Dorsey’s inaction.
This is on Twitter and @jack. In November, @laura and I told them to do the right thing. They didn’t. And here we are,” Pao wrote on Twitter.
Guy Rosen, Vice President of Integrity at Facebook, said that the events are an “emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video”.
A video from Trump, where he calls the rioters “special people” and urges them to go home, was taken down from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
“Let me say in no uncertain terms @jack @vijaya @kayvz: If you do not suspend Donald Trump’s Twitter account for the next day at least, this mob attack on Congress is also on you. Sorry, but he has incited violence for days, using your tools in large part and you need to act now,” tweeted tech media expert Kara Swisher.
Earlier on Wednesday, the two chambers were separately debating an objection to the counting of Arizona’s electoral votes before police placed a lockdown on the Capitol due to the breaches that also led to the killing of a woman in gunfire.
The chaos resulted in a lockdown and eventual evacuation at the Capitol.