Big Tech Strikes Back As President Trump is “Indefinitely” Banned from Facebook and Twitter
Just before the unprecedented storming of the Capitol Wednesday afternoon, President Trump dedicated part of his speech to rail against the biases of Big Tech, the media, and the so-called “shadow-banning” of conservative voices. Hours later, the president himself had been suspended from both Instagram and Facebook after “inciting violence.” Twitter also removed several of the president’s posts and locked his account for 12 hours.
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Thursday morning, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a further statement, extending the suspension and indefinitely banning Trump while “the risks of allowing President Trump to use our service … are simply too great.” This action represents the harshest restrictions placed on the president to date, but many are arguing that they are justified.
Further, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have all removed a video posted by President Trump calling on his supporters to go home and pursue peace while also doubling down on his claims that the election was stolen from him. Facebook’s chief of safety and integrity Guy Rosen has justified this action, explaining “[t]his is an emergency situation” and “on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”
Is this move justified? Perhaps. Two things may be true at once.
Tech censorship presents an obvious threat to free speech, and blocking a sitting president’s access to the people is indeed unprecedented.
Yet, maybe desperate times do call for desperate measures.
The president did, after all, organize yesterday’s march using these very platforms, so this move might represent a good way to limit the president’s reach if the “peaceful transition of power” is truly at stake.