Big Tech censorship or a threat to national security: While social media companies are taking down Trump accounts, are conservatives justified in pointing out double standards?
After suspending President Donald Trump’s personal account for 12 hours on Wednesday evening, Twitter took the extraordinary and unprecedented step of permanently banning @RealDonaldTrump Friday night, “citing the risk that he would incite further violence.”
- The cancel cult didn’t stop there: Reddit banned the DonaldTrump subreddit, which is not an officially sanctioned effort of the Trump campaign or White House, for “repeated policy violations.”
- Shopify and PayPal removed online stores on their platforms related to Trump.
- Other online platforms have taken action against Trump-sympathetic causes and communities in recent days.
- Before Twitter’s ban was implemented, a NYU marketing professor argued what is happening is not dissimilar from the programming decisions cable news makes, and that the Section 230 protections will have to be revisited.
- Parler, a conservative alternative to Twitter is now facing similar expulsions, with Google removing it from its app marketplace while Apple has given the service 24 hours to beef up its content moderation policy or face removal in the wake of Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol.
- The censorship moves by social media giants have drawn criticism from international leaders and Republican politicians warning of the outsized effects on political discourse they will have now that they’ve shown a willingness to suspend accounts such as the President’s.
- That did not stop a handful of leftist celebrities from rejoicing in Trump’s twitter suspension, while former Fox News and NBC personality Megyn Kelly said on Twitter “if you’re on the right or not woke or want to raise [questions] about the integrity of our electoral system, you’re next.
- The same day their editorial board celebrated the suspension of Trump’s social media accounts, the Washington Post wrote concerningly about Chinese government’s censorship via the app WeChat of users in Canada and the United States
- The Verge reported that Trump attempted to tweet from other affiliated accounts including @POTUS, @TeamTrump, and even the personal account of the campaign’s digital director Gary Coby.
- Huffington Post interviewed an academic that compares Trump to Italian dictator Mussolini and calls him an “agent of lawlessness”, in which she says “de-platforming” the President is not enough.
- The Federalist framed the developments as one in which pro-censorship voices will not stop with the President, noting one reporter urging Twitter to ban a list of others in the conservative sphere of influence, including The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway.
- OANN reported on the pressure being applied to Parler, saying “many agree Silicon Valley has gone too far.”
- Fox News host Tucker Carlson spent significant time during a monologue lambasting Big Tech and social media for their “assault on speech” while separate reporting from Fox News notes that while President Trump has been banned, the Iranian Ayatollah still has tweets calling for the destruction of Israel live on the site, a hypocrisy which caught the attention of at least one Republican member of Congress.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021