Years before banning Trump from his sites, Zuckerberg went to the White House for dinner as part of an effort to work with the government and not against it.
The Facebook chief was harshly criticized by both his own employees and large sections of the public for not taking any harder action against the president’s most controversial messages.
In September 2019, Trump posted a photo of him shaking hands with Zuckerberg at a meeting in the Oval Office.
“Nice meeting with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in the Oval Office today,” the president wrote at the time.
Zuckerberg and Trump dined at the White House in the fall of 2019. The two men were joined by billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel. Thiel, one of Trump’s earliest supporters, was also one of Facebook’s earliest investors. He remains a member of the company’s board of directors.
Zuckerberg has met with Trump and other Republican lawmakers, as well as prominent conservative commentators in recent years, in an effort to allay concerns about censorship.
Facebook critics had accused Zuckerberg of favoring Trump for averting possible federal government regulatory action regarding the company’s business practices.
The relationship between the couple fell apart during Trump’s presidency and came to a head during the uprising at the Capitol.
Zuckerberg said the president used his Facebook page “to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters in the Capitol” and that it would be too much of a risk to freely post him the last 13 days of his tenure.
“The shocking events of the past 24 hours clearly show that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transfer of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“His decision to use his platform to approve rather than condemn the actions of his supporters in the Capitol has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world,” Zuckerberg said.
We removed these statements yesterday because we felt that their effect – and probably their intention – would be to provoke further violence.
Following the certification of the election results by Congress, the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after the inauguration are conducted peacefully and in accordance with established democratic standards.
In recent years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform in accordance with our own rules, sometimes removing content or tagging his posts when they violate our policies.
‘We did this because we believe that the public has the right to have the widest possible access to political expressions, even controversial expressions.
“But the current context is fundamentally different now, with the use of our platform to instigate violent insurgency against a democratically elected government.”
Zuckerberg concluded, “We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this time are simply too great.
“ That’s why we’re extending the block we’ve posted on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and at least for the next two weeks until the peaceful transfer of power is complete. ”