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Trump returns to Twitter and promises a smooth transition of power

Irene Hawkins

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Twitter has lifted its ban on President Donald Trump, and his latest tweet is very different than the ones we’ve seen for many months. Though he does not say he lost, his latest video feels like a concession speech. “Now that Congress has certified the results, a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th,” he says. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.” Trump had issued a similar statement about “an orderly transition” this morning through a surrogate account — that of White House social media director Dan Scavino.

The president’s own account was locked on Wednesday after a mob of his supporters broke into the US Capitol, and Twitter said it would stay that way until he deleted several tweets and then waited 12 hours. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed Thursday morning that the tweets in question had been removed.

Trump returns to Twitter in a more tenuous position than ever before. The company said he’s now at risk of a permanent ban if he continues to violate Twitter rules around misinformation and incitement of violence. Once Trump leaves the White House on January 20th, he’ll also lose special “public interest” protections that applied to his account while he was in office, which could make it easier for the company to enforce its rules over Trump tweets that cross the line.

Twitter banned Trump on Wednesday over a series of tweets spreading lies about the election outcome and a video the company said posed a “risk of violence.” In that video, Trump reiterated his false claims that the election was stolen, praised the mob that broke into the US Capitol, and told them it was time to “go home.”

Facebook and YouTube removed the same video from Trump. Facebook later “indefinitely” banned Trump due to his use of the platform to “incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government,” saying the risks are “are simply too great” of allowing him to remain. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the ban would remain in place at least through Inauguration Day.

Irene grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and now lives in New York as a full-time environmentalist and a part-time journalist. She was previously an editor at local online newspaper, where she wrote about topics including technology, finance and the media industry.

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