Twitter announced Friday that they had permanently suspended President Trump’s account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” The move caused outrage among those on the Right. Even among the Left, some have expressed concern for the precedent that this could set. Similarly, Trump’s accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitch were also suspended. Quickly following the Twitter announcement, Google, Apple, and Amazon announced that they would also be banning the social networking app Parler. Prior to the decision, Parler, a company launched in 2018 and known for drawing a Republican and conservative crowd, was the most downloaded app on the Apple store.
The Right strongly condemns the move. Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, said the move was a “scorched-earth campaign against the tens of millions of people who dare to think differently than they do and the open forums that give our movement a voice…Big Tech isn’t just coming for Trump. They’re coming for all of us — and corporate America isn’t far behind.”
“Twitter’s permanent suspension of President Trump’s account is clearly not about the rules, but an exercise of power over its political opponents. Wednesday’s riots were not the cause, but the excuse used for Big Tech to do what they’ve been wanting to do for years — keep conservatives from speaking on public platforms.”Paulina Enck, Intern for The Federalist
The Federalist article also pointed out the inconsistencies and hypocrisy: no actions have been taken by Twitter against the likes of Iranian dictator Ayatollah Khamenei, or many others, who regularly post aggressive and violent tweets. Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny seconded this notion, writing, “Don’t tell me [Trump] was banned for violating Twitter rules. I get death threats here every day for many years, and Twitter doesn’t ban anyone (not that I ask for it).” He added, “Among the people who have Twitter accounts are cold-blooded murderers (Putin or Maduro) and liars and thieves (Medvedev).” Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, stated it was a “dangerous precedent to set” and added, “We aren’t in China.”
So the ayatollah, and numerous other dictatorial regimes can have Twitter accounts with no issue despite threatening genocide to entire countries and killing homosexuals etc… but The President of the United States should be permanently suspended.— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 9, 2021
Mao would be proud.
Most on the Left are in support of the decision, but some have expressed skepticism and criticism, as well. Prior to Twitter’s decision, former First Lady Michelle Obama stated, “Now is the time for Silicon Valley companies to stop enabling this monstrous behavior — and go even further than they have already by permanently banning this man from their (services) and putting in place policies to prevent their technology from being used by the nation’s leaders to fuel insurrection.” “They’ve given him a bully pulpit to speak directly to people the last four years,” argued UCLA Professor Sarah T. Roberts.
“While I’m pleased to see social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube take long-belated steps to address the president’s sustained misuse of their platforms to sow discord and violence, these isolated actions are both too late and not nearly enough.”Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
However, others disagree. Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s spokesperson said that she believed the move was “problematic” and stated, “The fundamental right to freedom of opinion is a fundamental right of elementary importance.”