In the aftermath of Wednesday’s assault on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, the Amazon-owned video-streaming site Twitch joined other social media titans in disabling President Donald Trump’s account. Twitch’s ban will be active until Joe Biden assumes the presidency Jan. 20, a spokesperson confirmed Thursday.
“In light of yesterday’s shocking attack on the Capitol, we have disabled President Trump’s Twitch channel,” Twitch spokesperson Kristin Sosanie wrote in an email. “Given the current extraordinary circumstances and the president’s incendiary rhetoric, we believe this is a necessary step to protect our community and prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence.”
Other social media sites took similar steps to de-platform the president Wednesday and Thursday, temporarily stripping him of the digital soapbox he has used to spread false allegations of voter fraud of the kind that incited Wednesday’s insurrection.
As chaos raged at the Capitol on Wednesday, prompting even conservative politicians to ask Trump to call off his supporters, the president posted a video on a number of social channels in which he reiterated unfounded claims that the election had been stolen. And he had a special message for the mob that smashed its way into the Capitol, leading to at least four deaths.
“We love you. You’re very special,” Trump told the rioters, many of whom had attended his rally earlier in the day and followed his instructions to march on the nation’s legislative chambers, where senators and representatives were meeting to certify the results of the November presidential election that resulted in Trump’s ouster.
In response to the president’s kid-glove treatment of his thousands-strong posse, social media giants acted more strongly and swiftly than they have done to date to tamp down Trump’s unfiltered access to his followers.
On Wednesday, Facebook deleted the video and banned Trump’s account “indefinitely.” Twitter deleted some of the president’s tweets, including the video, and suspended him for 12 hours. YouTube also removed the video from its site. On Thursday, online storefront Shopify announced it had shut down the Trump campaign store.
Twitch, best known among video game livestreamers, occupies a relatively small share of the social media market compared to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter: About 15 million people log on to Twitch each month, compared with Facebook’s 2.7 billion. Amazon acquired San Francisco-based Twitch in 2014 for $970 million.
Trump’s campaign launched a Twitch channel for the president in October 2019, primarily posting videos and streams of campaign rallies and events. Twitch suspended the account on one other occasion, when, last June, it broadcast videos of Trump rallies that the streaming service said violated its rules against “hateful content.”
A previous version of this story inaccurately reported the number of people who died pursuant to Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. This story has been updated.