Trump deletes posts 'inciting violence' after threat of permanent Twitter ban

Donald Trump has deleted three tweets accused of inciting violence that caused his account to be suspended on Wednesday night.

His account was locked for twelve hours and threatened with permanent suspension after both Twitter and Facebook said his messages increased the likelihood of violence as his supporters rioted in Washington.

They had gathered in the city for a rally at which the president repeated his baseless claim that the election had been "stolen".

There was chaos - and four deaths - after the president directed his supporters to go to the Capitol building where the electoral college votes for Joe Biden were being certified.

Live: Four dead as Trump-inspired mob riot on Capitol

Before suspending his account, Twitter removed the ability to retweet, like and reply to a video in which Mr Trump addressed those who had clashed with police.

Twitter uses two different forms of notice on deleted tweets.

When a post has not yet been deleted but violates the company's rules, it is flagged as: "This tweet is no longer available."

When a user then deletes that message, it reads: "This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules." This is the notice that appears on Mr Trump's deleted messages.

Twitter said the president had to delete three tweets which it considered "severe" violations of its civic integrity policies, and cited "the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington DC".

"This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked," said the company.

"Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account."

Facebook has also suspended Mr Trump for a 24-hour period, meaning he will not be able to post anything.

It also removed a video from the president "because on balance we believe it contributes to, rather than diminishes, the risk of ongoing violence".

During the riot, Alex Stamos, Facebook's former chief security officer, called for both Twitter and Facebook to "cut off" the president, saying "labelling won't do it".

"There have been good arguments for private companies to not silence elected officials, but all those arguments are predicated on the protection of constitutional governance," Mr Stamos warned.