Twitter stops phrase trending after Capitol riot
Twitter stopped the phrase “Hang Mike Pence” trending on Saturday, but not before it trended on the social media platform in the aftermath of the company’s decision to suspend Donald Trump’s account. The chant was heard in the US Capitol on Wednesday, as a mob incited by the president mounted a putsch, roaming the halls, confronting law enforcement and in some cases apparently planning to kidnap lawmakers.
Jim Bourg, a Reuters picture editor in Washington, said on Twitter: “I heard at least three different rioters at the Capitol say that they hoped to find Vice-President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor. It was a common line being repeated. Many more were just talking about how the VP should be executed.”
Five people died as a result of the attack, including a Capitol police officer reportedly struck with a fire extinguisher and a rioter shot by law enforcement. Multiple arrests were made, among them men who brought firearms and explosives to Washington.
Twitter suspended Trump’s account late on Friday, over his incitement of the mob.
Pence was at the Capitol at the time of the riot, to preside over the counting of electoral college results which Trump has tried to overturn, claiming without evidence that his defeat by Joe Biden was the result of electoral fraud.
The president repeatedly tweeted claims that Pence had the authority to overturn the results. He did not.
Trump supporters outside the Capitol brandished a gallows and noose.
Inside, lawmakers hid from rioters who invaded offices and the House and Senate chambers. One member of the mob, a retired air force officer, was pictured carrying plastic “zip tie” handcuffs.
In a statement on Saturday, a Twitter spokesman said: “We blocked the phrase and other variations of it from trending.
“We want trends to promote healthy discussions on Twitter. This means that at times, we may prevent certain content from trending. As per our Help Center, there are rules for trends – if we identify accounts that violate these rules, we’ll take enforcement action.”
After the Capitol was secured, Pence presided over the confirmation of Joe Biden’s election victory. Since then, the vice-president has been the subject of calls to invoke the 25th amendment to the constitution, which provides for the removal of a president deemed incapable of fulfilling his duties.
On Sunday, NBC News reported that Pence and Trump had not spoken since the Capitol riot.
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