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Politics

Twitter Permanently Suspends Steve Bannon Account After Beheading Comments

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, shown here in August, had a Twitter account associated with him suspended after suggesting Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded.
Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, shown here in August, had a Twitter account associated with him suspended after suggesting Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded.

Twitter permanently suspended an account associated with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon after he suggested in a video posted online Thursday that Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded.

Bannon made the comments calling for medieval violence during a livestream of his talk show and podcast, War Room: Pandemic.

"I'd put the heads on pikes. Right. I'd put them at the two corners of the White House. As a warning to federal bureaucrats: Either get with the program or you're gone," he said in the now-deleted video previously posted on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. However, it has been recirculated through other accounts.

CNN reported the video was viewed at least 200,000 times on Facebook before it was deleted.

The show's Twitter account, @WarRoomPandemic, was suspended after it posted the video. It violated the social media website's "policy on the glorification of violence," a Twitter spokesperson told NPR.

Facebook and YouTube removed the video, saying it violated their policies against inciting violence and harassment, according to company spokespeople.

Bannon's message comes as some members of President Trump's inner circle have amped up inflammatory rhetoric as the election results remain unresolved. Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., said this week the president should "go to total war" over the election.

Twitter has notably beefed up its response to tweets viewed as harassment or inciting violence in recent months. The social media company also created a "civic integrity policy" focused on flagging tweets that are considered sharing disputed or misleading information related to the election. At times, Trump's own posts have been flagged as a result of this policy.

Permanently suspending an account on Twitter is the social media site's strongest enforcement action, according to the company. However, users can still appeal this action and be reinstated.

Permanently suspending an account will remove it from view, and the violator will not be allowed to create new accounts during that time, according to Twitter's rules.

YouTube and Facebook channels for The War Room: Pandemic are still live.

"We've removed this video for violating our policy against inciting violence. We will continue to be vigilant as we enforce our policies in the post-election period," Alex Joseph, a YouTube spokesperson, told NPR.

YouTube has a "three-strikes" policy before an account is terminated. Any strike temporarily disables uploading for at least a week.

Bannon or representatives from War Room couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.