How did Facebook and Twitter CEOs decide to ban President Trump’s account? What do they reveal about social networks in particular and Big Tech in general?
|Trump spoke to the press as he left the White House to visit the US-Mexico border wall. Photo: Reuters|
According to the CNBC, Mark Zuckerberg began to consider indefinitely suspending the account of US President Donald Trump on the night of January 6, a few hours after the Capitol Hill riots.
Over the years, the Facebook CEO chose to take an approach that would not touch the President’s false accusations, uphold freedom of speech and the value of his statements in spite of calls for more drastic action both inside and outside the company.
However, after a series of dialogues with leading figures – including CEO Sheryl Sandberg, Global Policy Director Monika Bickert, Director of Global Affairs Nick Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy bridge Joel Kaplan – Zuckerberg believes Mr. Trump has gone too far, according to CNBC sources.
Earlier in the day, Facebook banned Mr. Trump’s account for 24 hours. Now, Zuckerberg is preparing for a more comprehensive ban: extending at least the end of the presidency.
The next morning, from his vacation home in Kauai, Hawaii, Zuckerberg phoned Sandberg, Bickert, Clegg, Kaplan and other leaders. He decided that President Trump’s attempt to incite violence and undermine the democratic process was the basis of the indefinite ban. The source revealed that no one expressed the opposite opinion.
Not long after, Zuckerberg posted a post on his personal Facebook, explaining “the risk of allowing the President to continue using our services during this period is too great”.
On the same day, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey considered acting much more radical, according to CNBC sources. In consultation with Twitter Legal Director Vijaya Gadde, believes Dorsey the best course of action is to ban President Trump’s personal accounts permanently due to his posts representing risks to public safety.
The Twitter CEO was on the French island of Polynesia, where he spent most of 2020 away from San Francisco Bay, and was busy with other projects like mobile payment app Square, crypto futures, and Tidal music streaming platform.
After speaking with Gadde and Twitter senior leaders, Dorsey approved the permanent ban, though he later admitted his authority had severely influenced “global public discussions”. . Twitter announced the ban on January 8.
The decisions of Facebook and Twitter were a turning point for American social networks and the best testament to their absolute strength. With just a few unilateral decisions, a small group of tech CEOs disqualified the US President from speaking on the most influential media tools.
For more than four years, Mr. Trump relied on social media to attract attention, make decisions, create market movement and broaden his followers base, often making statements or statements before his assistant. I promptly realized. However, CNBC said that in just a short time, he lost most of the access to his favorite microphone.
Twitter and Facebook were the first companies to take action. In the following days, Google suspended President Trump’s YouTube account, Reddit banned some “pro-Trump” forums, and Snapchat, which restricted his activities on the platform, announced it would permanently ban from 20 / 1, the last day of term.
Since then, Mr. Trump has barely appeared in the social media flow. He is forced to speak and publish videos through traditional media, press releases and on his White House Twitter account, where the number of followers is only 1/3 of his personal account.
Executives of Facebook, Twitter and other companies believe they made the right decisions but are also hesitant about their own strengths. An unnamed Facebook official said “the cost of this decision is to shed light on the fact that a small group of individuals have such power“.
Social media aren’t the only companies showing where the Internet’s power is concentrated. Immediately after Facebook and Twitter banned President Trump’s account, more prominent tech firms began to show their power: Apple and Google removed Parler, the social networking application popular with Trump supporters, from application marketplaces that do not prevent hostile speech; Amazon stopped providing hosting with Parler. Parler CEO John Matze admits the app can never come back.
In this week’s Twitter post, Jack Dorsey said the decision to ban President Trump could set a “dangerous” precedent emphasizing “the power of an individual or a business to global public discussion.” “. He points out that companies have more control over their platforms, which in the long run destroys the lofty purpose and ideals of the open Internet.
Mr. Trump and his allies have warned against Big Tech’s decisions. In a video posted on the White House Twitter account, Mr. Trump criticized “efforts to censor, cancel and blacklist citizens.” Democrat lawmakers, meanwhile, don’t seem to see much of a problem in actions against Mr Trump and supporters of the platforms. They invoke the First Amendment to the Constitution that does not prohibit private enterprise from deciding what should appear on the basis. They welcomed the decision and even believed it should happen sooner.
“The foundation is the foundation,” said Rachel Cohen, spokesman for Sen. Mark Warner, an advocate for stricter Big Tech oversight. They have user terms. When someone breaches the foundational standard, he or she should be held accountable ”.
Facebook and Twitter have long set special rules for not only Mr. Trump but also other world leaders. They argue that even the most controversial articles have substantial news value. Most of the President’s controversial posts still appear, sometimes labeled, sometimes not.
The decision by Facebook and Twitter was a response to a very specific situation, according to CNBC sources. A particularly influential individual inciting violence, threatening the democratic process, his words have a clear effect in the real world.
Twitter not only said Mr. Trump’s statement could inspire violence to people, but also gave many signs that the words were “understood and accepted” as inciting violence.
The precedent has been set. While these platforms may never be in the extreme situation of last week, the world has seen how powerful tech firms are and realize how fiercely their directors are if required without any outside regulations or laws.
Du Lam (According to CNBC)
China watched Twitter, Facebook banned TT Trump from doing lessons when managing Big Tech
A Chinese official said the country could not allow the same behavior to occur. Over-liberalized social media platforms will pose a political threat to the nation.