Facebook to Ban Photos, Videos of Capitol Protests


Following the fiasco caused by protesters on Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C, Tech giant Facebook announced that photos and videos from the said protests would be removed, tagging them as "promotion of criminal activity," which violates their policy.

Additionally, NBC News reported that President Donald Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts were temporarily suspended for cited "two policy violations."

Videos of the president's effort to contain the Capitol chaos by telling the protesters to go home and counseling them that "we have to have peace" were also deleted on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The said videos were said to have included the president's sentiments concerning the result of the recent election. He claimed that it was "stolen" from him.

On Wednesday, Twitter published, "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."

Facebook's VP for integrity, Guy Rosen, explained that President Trump's video could incite further violence; hence, the removal.

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

On behalf of Facebook, Rosen and Monika Bickert, VP for Global Policy Management, published an article titled "Our Response to the Violence in Washington," which summarizes their official stance on the issue.

"Let us speak for the leadership team in saying what so many of us are feeling...We are appalled by the violence at the Capitol today. We are treating these events as an emergency," Rosen and Bickert wrote.

Facebook details the types of contents they removed, which include "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 of protests, even peaceful ones if they violate the curfew in DC."

The social media giant has also prepared what they call "emergency measures" through the use of AI to "demote content that likely violates (their) policies" and the automatic disabling of the comment section for posts in Groups that have a "high rate of hate speech or content that incites violence." They also added requirements for Group admins to review posts before approving.

"We're continuing to monitor the situation and will take additional measures if necessary to keep people safe," says Facebook reps at the end of their press release.

TechCrunch also reports that contents linked to the #StormTheCapitol hashtags were blocked on Facebook and Instagram.

Not everyone was impressed by the steps taken by Facebook, though. Media site The Blaze commented that Facebook did not "enact a similar policy of banning the protests and riots that have been occurring regularly since late May, following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis."