Trump was banned from the platform in the the wake of the US capitol riots in January, after Twitter argued his Tweets incited violence.
‘When you’re removed from the platform, you’re removed from the platform,’ Twitter CFO Ned Segal told CNBC.
‘Our policies are designed to make sure that people are not inciting violence,’ Segal said.
‘He was removed when he was president and there’d be no difference for anybody who’s a public official once they’ve been removed from the service.’
Twitter also banned a raft of accounts associated with the QAnon conspiracy after the capitol riots, after many of the conspiracy’s proponents were seen as pivotal in the attack.
Combined with a temporary rise in right-wing friendly platforms like Parler, many observers thought Trump’s ousting would lead to an exodus of users from Twitter.
But Segal rejected this theory.
‘We added 40 million people to our DAU [daily active user count] last year, and 5 million last quarter,’ Segal said.
‘In January, we added more DAU than the average of the last four Januarys, so hopefully that gives people a sense for the momentum we’ve got from all the hard work we’ve done on the service.’
While many social media platforms have now banned former president Trump, Twitter was the first to do so in the wake of the capitol riots.
350 employees at the firm signed a letter to Dorsey calling on him to permanently ban Trump from Twitter.
The ban came after Twitter temporarily locked Trump’s account for tweets excusing violence, after his supporters stormed Capitol Hill in violent scenes which lead to four deaths.
The social media giant first removed the offending content before blocking his account completely.
Twitter’s official Safety account confirmed the news on Friday night, tweeting: ‘After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.
‘In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.
‘Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.
‘However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules and cannot use Twitter to incite violence. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.’
Snapchat, like Twitter, has also permanently banned Trump, while Facebook has suspended Trump until its independent Facebook Oversight Board, a sort of Facebook supreme court, makes a final decision.
How did Twitter get to the point of banning Trump?
Trump flirted with bans and suspensions a few times until his actual removal from the platform.
In May of last year, Twitter hid one of Trump’s tweets as it violated one of their long-standing rules prohibiting the glorification of violence.
After mass protests across the US following the murder of the black man George Floyd, the President threatened to ‘send in the National Guard’, and added a warning that ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts.’
For a normal account, this would result in suspension – but Twitter made an exception.
One of Twitter’s justifications for keeping Trump’s tweet up and hiding it, rather than suspending the tweet entirely, was that the US president was a ‘newsworthy’ individual, for which they make exemptions.
A ‘newsworthy’ individual is classed as an elected official with more than 250,000 followers.
But the social media giant said at time that after Trump leaves office in January, he would lose this distinction.
The tweet in May wasn’t the only tweet that crossed the line in Twitter’s eyes, either.
After the November election, Trump tweeted a slew of allegations (12, by Twitter’s count) that the election was fraudulent and rigged for Joe Biden.
Twitter responded by flagging the tweets and providing links to information which refuted Trump’s baseless claims.
Twitter’s terms and conditions state they ‘suspend or terminate’ accounts ‘at any time for any or no reason’, but almost all accounts are suspended for violating specific parts of their user agreement.
What will Trump do next?
Many banned Twitter users migrated to alternative microblogging social network Parler after the capitol riots, which had less strict rules about what can and can’t be said on the platform.
But since the app was removed from Google and Apple’s app stores, and taken offline by Amazon, there are less places for ousted Twitter users to go.
However, last week Trump made a rare appearance on Gab, an older social media platform used predominantly by right-wing users and political extremists, to criticise the impeachment proceedings against him.
Given the amount of Trump-friendly voices on the app, it would make a logical next step for someone who has been locked out of Twitter.
Even before he was elected President, there was talk of Trump starting his own media operation – and that possibility seems even more likely given the ban.
Trump has had long ties with media and news executives, and sources close to the former president say that his own media outfit has been long on his mind.
Whether he will start his own from scratch, or take over one of the networks friendly to him, like Newsmax or One America News Network, remains to be seen.
There have also been cases of Twitter reversing their bans, but these aren’t common.
In early October, weeks before the 2020 election, Twitter restricted the New York Post’s account for sharing potentially false information surrounding the election – that of Joe Biden’s son and a leaked hard drive.
But soon after, they reversed their ban on the account, and allowed it to start sharing again.
Their reasoning was because of a policy change – so, if Twitter changes their policy again, Trump could have his account reinstated.