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Twitter limits reach of tweets stoking US Capitol unrest, Facebook pulls Trump video for fuelling violence in US capital

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Twitter on Wednesday (Jan 6) began limiting the reach of tweets stoking an assault on the US Capitol by a mob intent on overturning the election results.

“We have been significantly restricting engagement with tweets labelled under our Civic Integrity Policy due to the risk of violence,” the Twitter support team said. “This means these labelled tweets will not be able to be replied to, retweeted, or liked.”

Twitter and other social platforms were facing challenges amid the unrest after President Donald Trump, a fervent Twitter user, had rallied supporters in the capital city as Congress was set to certify the November election won by Mr Joe Biden.

A Mr Trump video clip posted atop his official Twitter account was tagged with a note saying the claim of voter fraud was disputed, and that the tweet could not be replied to, retweeted, or liked “due to a risk of violence.”

Facebook said it pulled Mr Trump video from its social network. 

“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video,” Facebook vice-president of integrity Guy Rosen said in a tweet. 

“We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”

YouTube has also removed a Mr Trump video that appeared to be contributing to the mob violence by baselessly challenging the outcome of the recent presidential election, which he lost, according to media reports.

However, a look at rival social network Parler showed posts lauding the mob assault on the Capitol.

“Disappointing. Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, Schumer, Romney all got away. DC is a target rich environment,” read a post at an @Macholatte account. “Hope to see some of the DemonRat residences getting torched.”

An account from the militia group Proud Boys at Parler posted a photo of a smiling man, apparently in the Capitol building, carrying a podium.

Another Parler post hurled insults at Vice-President Mike Pence, including calling him a “traitor” for refusing to overturn the November election results.

Conservatives backing Mr Trump have expanded their online platforms to include alternative social media sites which have refrained from filtering unverified claims.

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