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Posted on: Friday, 8 January 2021
Facebook to ban and remove photos and videos from Capitol protest; content labeled as 'promotion of criminal activity'
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Facebook announced it would ban and remove photos and videos from the protest at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The social media platform claims that photos and videos from Wednesday's events violate Facebook's policy of "promotion of criminal activity."

Immediately following the Capitol protest, Facebook and Instagram locked the account of President Donald Trump for 24 hours for "two policy violations."

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube deleted videos from President Trump addressing the Capitol chaos, where he instructed his supporters to "go home," and declared that "we have to have peace." He also continued to press the narrative that the election was stolen from him.

Twitter released a statement on Wednesday that read, "In regard to the ongoing situation in Washington, D.C., we are working proactively to protect the health of the public conversation occurring on the service and will take action on any content that violates the Twitter rules."

Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of integrity, said the company deleted Trump's video over the risk that it would increase the risk of violence.

"This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump's video," Rosen wrote on Twitter. "We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence."

"The violent protests in the Capitol today are a disgrace," Facebook said in a statement on Wednesday. "We prohibit incitement and calls for violence on our platform. We are actively reviewing and removing any content that breaks these rules."

Facebook also issued its "response to the violence in Washington," where the social network announced it would ban and remove photos and videos from the Capitol protest.

"Let us speak for the leadership team in saying what so many of us are feeling," wrote Rosen and Monika Bickert, Facebook's vice president of global policy management. "We are appalled by the violence at the Capitol today. We are treating these events as an emergency."

Facebook proclaimed that it has been "searching for and removing" certain content, including "praise and support of the storming of the US Capitol," "incitement or encouragement of the events at the Capitol, including videos and photos from the protestors," and "calls for protests — even peaceful ones — if they violate the curfew in DC."

Facebook claimed that photos and videos of the Capitol protest "represent promotion of criminal activity which violates our policies."

Facebook also implemented "emergency measures," including "automatically disabling comments on posts in Groups that start to have a high rate of hate speech or content that incites violence" and "using AI to demote content that likely violates our policies."

"Facebook and Instagram have both begun blocking content posted to the #StormTheCapitol hashtag," TechCrunch reported.

The social media giant concluded by saying, "We're continuing to monitor the situation and will take additional measures if necessary to keep people safe."

Facebook did not enact a similar policy of banning images and videos during the protests and riots that have been occurring regularly since late May, following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

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