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State Department reportedly orders diplomats to stop posting on social media after US Capitol riots

Catherine Shu
·1-min read
A May 11, 2018 photo shows the seal of the US State Department at the State Department in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The State Department ordered diplomats to stop posting on social media after pro-Trump rioters stormed the United States Capitol, reports CNN, citing three diplomatic sources. Diplomats overseas were also told by the under secretary for public affairs to remove scheduled content for Facebook, Hootsuite and Twitter until told otherwise, and that planned social media posts from the State Department’s main accounts were also being suspended.

According to CNN, diplomats are usually only told to pause social media posts after a terrorist attack or major natural disaster.

As of late Wednesday evening in the United States, the main State Department Twitter account had only retweeted a thread by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in which he said "the storming of the U.S. Capitol today is unacceptable."

So far, the official Instagram accounts of the State Department and Pompeo and the State Department’s YouTube have made no posts after the rioting at the Capitol, while the State Department's Facebook page has a post repeating Pompeo’s Twitter thread.

TechCrunch has contacted the State Department for comment.

Social media platforms scrambled to react after an extraordinary and terrifying day of violence that resulted in the deaths of four people. Rioters breached the Capitol early Wednesday afternoon, as electoral votes were being counted, forcing lawmakers to evacuate (the joint session was later reconvened).

On Wednesday afternoon, Twitter required the removal of three of President Donald Trump’s tweets and locked his account for 12 hours, before stating that he would be permanently suspended for future violations of its Civic Integrity policy. Facebook and Instagram announced that the president would be barred from posting to his accounts for 24 hours and began blocking content posted to the #StormTheCapitol hashtag.