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Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Facebook on Wednesday banned President Trump from posting for 24 hours after finding two of his incendiary posts violated its policy. The move comes after CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared the situation in Washington, D.C., an "emergency" and said the company was considering "additional measures" to keep people safe, according to an internal memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump has been using social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to get out his message, which has included continued baseless claims of election fraud and praise for those who occupied the Capitol.

"We've assessed two policy violations against President Trump's page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time," a spokesperson told Axios.

Catch up quick: Facebook removed at least two posts from Trump, including a video, while Twitter hid from view three posts and has locked Trump's account until he deletes the offending posts.

Where it stands: Facebook took to a blog post Wednesday to explain its approach to content related to the siege.

  • The company said it has been — and will continue — taking down videos and photos from those in the mob, as well as posts supporting the storming of the Capitol; calls to bring weapons to protests around the country; calls for protest that violate a curfew imposed in Washington, D.C.; and any attempts to foment further violence.

What they're saying: "We are treating this situation as an emergency, and we are implementing additional measures to keep people safe," Zuckerberg said.

  • Earlier on Wednesday, Facebook executives met to discuss how to handle Trump's account amid the escalating violence, sources told Axios.

Here is the text of Zuckerberg's internal post:

This is a dark moment in our nation's history, and I know many of you are frightened and concerned about what's happening in Washington, DC. I'm personally saddened by this mob violence -- which is exactly what this is. The peaceful transition of power is critical to the functioning of our democracy, and we need our political leaders to lead by example and put the nation first.
As Guy mentioned, our teams are actively monitoring the situation. We removed the recent video of President Trump's remarks expressing support for the people causing the violence. We are treating this situation as an emergency, and we are implementing additional measures to keep people safe.
Finally, I can confirm that every one of our DC-based employees is currently safe and accounted for. Our security team is continuing to track what's happening in our nation's capital and will provide further updates as necessary. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact security@fb.com

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Big Tech is outsourcing its hardest content moderation decisions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Faced with the increasingly daunting task of consistent content moderation at scale, Big Tech companies are tossing their hardest decisions to outsiders, hoping to deflect some of the pressure they face for how they govern their platforms.

Why it matters: Every policy change, enforcement action or lack thereof prompts accusations that platforms like Facebook and Twitter are making politically motivated decisions to either be too lax or too harsh. Ceding responsibility to others outside the company may be the future of content moderation if it works.

App rush: Talent over trash

Data: Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Amid the sea of pollution on social media, another class of apps is soaring in popularity: The creators are paid, putting a premium on talent instead of just noise.

The big picture: Creator-economy platforms like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans are built around content makers who are paid. It's a contrast to platforms like Facebook that are mostly powered by everyday users’ unpaid posts and interactions.

Conservatives warn culture, political wars will worsen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The verdict is clear: The vast majority of Republicans will stand firm with former President Trump. The next phase is clear, too: Republicans are rallying around a common grievance that big government, big media and big business are trying to shut them up, shut them out and shut them down. 

Why it matters: The post-Trump GOP, especially its most powerful media platforms, paint the new reality as an existential threat. This means political attacks are seen — or characterized — as assaults on their very being.