Donald Trump Banned From Social Networks: Action To Prevent Violence Or Technocratic Censorship?

Twitter banned President Donald Trump’s account on Friday for a few more days, citing “the risk of further incitement to violence” following the infamous insurrection on the US Capitol. This led to Donald Trump being banned from social networks. Is this the start of technocratic censorship?

Donald Trump Banned From Social Networks: Action To Prevent Violence Or Technocratic Censorship?

Twitter has given Trump and other world leaders broad exemptions from its rules against personal attacks, hate speech, and other behavior. But in a detailed explanation posted on its blog on Friday, the company said the president’s recent tweets amounted to glorifying violence when read in the context of the Capitol unrest and plans circulating online for future armed protests. around the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The social platform has come under increasing pressure to take more action against Trump following Wednesday’s violence. On Thursday, Facebook suspended Trump’s account until January 20 and possibly indefinitely. 

Twitter simply suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours after he posted a video that talked about voter fraud and praised the rioters who stormed the Capitol.

Donald Trump Banned From Social Networks: Action To Prevent Violence Or Technocratic Censorship?
The messages on social networks would have instigated the violent incidents of December 6, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to interrupt the counting of electoral votes.

Subsequently, and under pressure from leaders of the Democratic opposition, the social network decided to permanently ban Trump’s personal account.

“Now is the time for the Silicon Valley platforms to stop allowing so much monstrous behavior – doing much more than they have done – and forbidding this man (for Trump) from using any platform. It cannot be that someone uses this technology to call for the insurrection in a nation, “said former first lady Michelle Obama, quoted by Fox News.

The official account of the President of the United States, @POTUS, is still active. In fact, Trump, who issued a statement on Friday night in which he denounced Twitter as an enemy of freedom of expression and raised the idea that he could build his own “platform”, also published it on the account @POTUS, where it was quickly removed.

Twitter says that using another account to evade suspension is against its rules, and that while it will not ban government accounts such as @POTUS or @WhiteHouse, it will “take steps to limit their use.”

Shannon McGregor, an assistant professor of journalism and media at the University of North Carolina, said the move allows Twitter to try to win favor with the incoming Biden administration. Trump “has only two weeks left in power, and that certainly makes it easier to remove the president,” he said.

Others saw a more sinister omen in the Twitter action. “Big Tech is not going to stop with the President of the United States,” wrote Kay James, chairman of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation , in a tweet. They can ban you and everyone who reads this.

After a 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.

– Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021

In tweets cited to justify the ban, Trump declared that he will not attend the inauguration and referred to his supporters as “American Patriots”, saying they will have “a GIANT VOICE in the future.” Twitter said that these statements “will likely inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as an encouragement to do so.”

Twitter noted that its policy allows world leaders to speak to the public, but that these accounts “are not completely above our rules” and cannot use the platform to incite violence.

Trump had approximately 89 million followers. Shares of Twitter fell about 4% in after-hours trading, reflecting concerns that Trump’s ban could reduce ad use and sales.

Is the Ban On Donald Trump Start Of A Technocratic Censorship?

Others accused Twitter, Facebook and other technological giants of having exercised an act of censorship, in a glass already full of this type of accusation – especially in recent months, when data and news verifiers have exploded before a flood of information and misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve been warning about this for a long time, about the enormous, unaccountable power that the people of Silicon Valley have, someone who no one voted for,” said freelance journalist and constitutional lawyer John Greenewald. “Now they have the power to be the gods who decide which speech is heard and which is not.”

“In a democracy, the leaders elected by the people rule, in an oligarchy or technocracy, a small handful of people are the ones who decide, the ones who rule. A technological monopoly that says who speaks and who does not, what information can and cannot be shared, which one is verified as false and which one is not; it is a dystopian reality and very alarming, “concludes the journalist.

Source: AP / Fox News

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