Trump permanently banned on Twitter — here's why

Twitter bans Trump
(Image credit: Kovop58/Shutterstock)

Donald Trump's presidential term expires at noon Eastern time on Jan. 20. But his time on Twitter has come to an earlier end. Twitter announced today (Jan. 8) that it was permanently suspending the president's personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump. 

The move came just two days after Trump's repeated assertions that he had been cheated out of re-election — he wasn't — incited his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol, which forced Congress to temporarily delay the certification of his opponent, Joe Biden, as the winner of last November's election.

At the time, Twitter gave the president a 12-hour time out, temporarily suspending his account for violating Twitter rules with a trio of tweets that seemed to encourage violence. 

Trump's tweeting privileges were restored yesterday (Jan. 7), but it turns out Twitter was just granting him a temporary reprieve.

A screenshot of Donald Trump's Twitter account, blank except for the words 'Account Suspended.'

(Image credit: Twitter)

In announcing Trump's permanent suspension — via a tweet, in what must be the bitterest of ironies for the president — Twitter cited "the risk of further incitement of violence." A blog post specifically cited two Trump tweets today that once again complained about the election results and stated the president's intention to snub the Biden inauguration. Those tweets, Twitter said, could be interpreted as false claims that the elections results were in dispute, which could led to further unrest.

That's a reversal from the social networking site's hands-off approach to Trump's oft-incendiary tweets dating back to before his presidency. During the past four years, Twitter had contended there was a public interest in letting Trump tweet without intervention, even as critics complained that the president was using the platform to spread information.

Trump still has control of the official presidential Twitter account, @POTUS, but that will be handed over to President-elect Joe Biden after he is sworn into office Jan. 20. That didn't stop Trump from attempting to vent his fury at Twitter by tweeting from the @POTUS account, though those tweets have since been removed. The president has also tried tweeting from his re-election campaign's account, which has apparently been suspended as well.

Twitter is actually something of a latecomer when it comes to kicking Trump off its service this week. 

Earlier, Facebook had blocked the president from posting to both its site and Instagram, at least through the end of his term in office later this month. Twitch has also disabled Trump's account indefinitely, and says it will "reassess" its status after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

The president may soon have more troubles beyond not being allowed onto his favorite social media sites. On Friday, Congressional Democrats began circulating article of impeachment, with an eye toward voting on impeachment as soon as Monday.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.