Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial is probably not the only concern he currently has. Twitter, Trump’s social media platform of choice, confirmed that the former president is facing a lifelong ban, not a temporary ban, from the platform. Whether or not Trump decides to run for president again will not impact this decision—he will remain banned, Twitter Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal told CNBC News.
“The way our policies work, when you’re removed from the platform, you’re removed from the platform — whether you’re a commentator, you’re a CFO, or you are a former or current public official,” Segal said. “Remember, our policies are designed to make sure that people are not inciting violence, and if anybody does that, we have to remove them from the service and our policies don't allow people to come back."
Segal’s statement comes amid Trump’s impeachment trial in Congress. If acquitted, Trump would not be barred from seeking the presidency again in 2024.
Despite more than four years of consist racist and ill-advised tweets, Trump was only removed from the platform in January after the Capitol riots following concerns that his words carried “risk of further incitement of violence.” The move to remove him was probably because Democrats were transitioning to power, not because of his references to violence since he’s been doing that for years—and in some cases, his tweets have been far worse—but better late than never. Just before his Twitter ban, Trump not only tweeted about the “stolen” election and his refusal to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration, but about other conspiracy theories as well.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the company announced in a blog post on Jan. 8.
Calls to ban Trump from Twitter and other platforms go back years before his role in the White House. While he was never banned before, Twitter began temporarily locking his account and flagging several tweets as misinformation. Following the Capitol insurrection, Facebook and YouTube also took action, with Facebook prohibiting Trump from posting "indefinitely" and YouTube confirming it would issue strikes on his account. Snapchat has also permanently banned Trump.
Trump’s Twitter ban didn’t stop him from his tweeting addiction, though. He was so desperate to use the platform that he attempted to tweet from @TeamTrump, the official Trump campaign account, and his @POTUS account. Both tweets were quickly deleted. While @TeamTrump was issued a ban, the @POTUS account was not since it was a government account, which was later transferred to Biden.
In response to Twitter losing users on the platform after banning Trump, Segal noted that many users joined the platform despite the known ban.
“We added 40 million people to our DAU [daily active user count] last year, and 5 million last quarter,” Segal said. “In January, we added more DAU than the average of the last four Januarys, so hopefully that gives people a sense for the momentum we’ve got from all the hard work we’ve done on the service.”
Usage details in earning reports backed this statement in which the company noted that it ended 2020 with 192 million daily users—a number that continued to grow in January despite Trump’s ban. While daily usage figures weren’t shared for January, Twitter told The Verge that daily user growth was “above the historical average from the last four years.”
Either way, one thing is for sure: No matter how much he denies it, Trump is definitely upset that he was removed from Twitter for good. Who knows—maybe he’ll attempt to make Parler his home.
While some users have said they’re missing his tweets as the platform no longer has the same drama it used to, online misinformation, especially about the election, decreased 73% following Trump’s ban, research from Zignal Labs found. As his followers continue to leave the platform, perhaps Twitter and other social media platforms will be more credible outlets for users to seek information from.