Opinion shared on Trump’s ban on social media | Donald Trump
When rioters gathered around the US Capitol last Wednesday, a familiar question popped up in the offices of major social networks: What should they do with Donald Trump and his provocative posts?
The answer was emphatic: forbid it.
First he was banned from Twitter, then from Facebook. Snapchat, Spotify, Twitch, Shopify, and Stripe have all followed suit, while Reddit, TikTok, YouTube, and even Pinterest have announced new restrictions on posting in support of the president or his actions.
Parler, a social media platform that sells for lack of moderation, has been removed from the app stores and denied by Amazon.
The action sparked a huge debate about freedom of expression and whether big tech companies – or, more precisely, their multi-billion dollar CEOs – are apt to serve as judges and juries in high profile cases.
So what are the arguments on both sides – and who is bringing them up?
For many, such social media bans were the right thing to do – albeit too late. After all, the agitation has already taken place and the Capitol has already been stormed.
“While I am pleased to see social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube taking long belated steps to combat the president’s continued abuse of their platforms to sow discord and violence, these isolated measures are both too late and nowhere near enough, “said Mark Warner, a Democratic Senator from Virginia. “Disinformation and extremism researchers have been pointing to a broader network-based exploitation of these platforms for years.”
Greg Bensinger, editor of the New York Times, said what happened on January 6th “should be social media reckoning day.”
He added, “There is a greater calling than profits and Mr. Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have a fundamental role to play in restoring truth and decency to our democracies and democracies around the world.
“This can include a more direct, human moderation of high-profile accounts; more conspicuous warnings; Software that can delay items so they can be checked before they go to the crowds, especially during moments of high tension; and a far greater willingness to suspend or even block dangerous accounts like Mr. Trump’s. “
Even observers who had previously spoken out against measures had changed their minds about the weekend. “Turn off Trump’s account,” wrote tech analyst Ben Thompson.
“My preferred outcome over yesterday’s events is an impeachment trial. Encouraging violence to reverse an election result you disagree with is hate speech, certainly a high crime or misdemeanor, and I hope that Congress will act in the next few days, unlikely as that may seem … It doesn’t work, but the right thing has to be done. ”
Freedom of expression activist Jillian C York agreed that action must be taken, but said Monday, “To be honest, I am wary of praising any of these companies. I think Facebook in particular deserves very little praise. They waited until the last moment to do something, despite months of calls.
“When it comes to Twitter, I think we can be a little more lenient. You have tried to make cautious decisions for many, many months. Yes, this is an incumbent president; breaking them down is a problem. And it is problematic even if there is a line where it becomes the right choice. ”
Some have wondered whether the platforms’ convenient decision to build a backbone has less to do with the violence of the time and more to do with political maneuvers.
“It took blood and glass in the convention halls – and a turn in the political winds – for the most powerful tech companies to recognize the Trump threat at the last minute,” tweeted Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Predictably, opposition to Trump’s ban came from his own family. “Freedom of expression is dead and controlled by left overlords,” tweeted his son Donald Jr. “The Ayatollah and numerous other dictatorial regimes can easily have Twitter accounts, even though they threaten entire countries with genocide and homosexuals, etc. States should be permanently suspended will. Mao would be proud. “
But the ban and the precedent it could set has worried some analysts and media experts.
“Banning an incumbent president from social media platforms is, however you look at it, an attack on freedom of expression,” wrote the Sunday Times in an editorial. “The fact that the ban was called for by Michelle Obama, among others, who said Thursday that the Silicon Valley platforms should stop activating him because of his ‘monstrous behavior’ will increase suspicions that the ban was politically motivated. ”
On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel – little known for her affection for the US President – made it clear that she considered it “problematic” that Trump had been blocked. Your spokesman Steffen Seibert called freedom of expression “a fundamental right of elementary importance”.
She said that any restriction should be made “according to the law and within the framework set by the legislator – not after a decision by the management of social media platforms”.
The ban has also worried those who are already concerned about the strength of Silicon Valley.
“The institutions of American democracy have repeatedly failed to hold President Trump’s unrestrained authoritarianism, hatred and racism accountable,” says Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, “but this corporate takeover is neither in practice nor in practice Principle for the benefit of American democracy. ”
“American democracy is at risk if it relies on corporate denial of service to protect the nation from its own president rather than relying on accountable institutions of justice and democracy,” added Carlo.
For York, such concerns are legitimate, but risk overemphasis on US policies and concerns. “The majority of the public does not care about these issues in everyday life,” she says, quoting world leaders like Jair Bolsonaro and Narendra Modi as others who have dealt with hate speech and hate speech on Twitter.
“It’s only when it hits Trump, and that’s the problem. Because that’s what we as a society should think about every day. “