For the past four yea rs, outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump has used social media, especially Twitter, to provide short statements to the world, multiple times a day.
Now, after the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Trump’s personal Twitter account is gone.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them – specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter – we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the social media giant stated on Jan. 8.
If the decision had been to ban anyone other than Trump, it would have attracted little or no attention. However, Trump has not been an ordinary Twitter user. He started his personal Twitter account in 2009 and since then, has posted around 57,000 tweets. On some days, his output was more than 100 posts.
Only recently did Twitter begin to add disclaimers when Trump would make his unfounded claims about election fraud in the U.S. presidential election.
After the riot, Facebook and Instagram suspended Trump indefinitely, and Twitter issued a 12-hour ban. The decision to permanently ban his personal account on Twitter did not come until Jan. 8, two days after the riot.
Some have seen these decisions as too little, too late. Others are concerned that this is only the beginning of an attempt to silence certain opinions.
It must be noted that social media platforms can have community standards in place, and they are free to suspend or ban users who violate those standards.
Furthermore, while free speech is valued in free countries around the world, there are limits. Slander, attempts to defraud others, child pornography and calls to violence are prohibited in most if not all parts of the world.
Social media can provide a voice to those who wish to be heard, but there must also be limits and standards. Without those in place – for all users – social media becomes a cesspool of hate speech and derogatory comments, leading to more social division and violence in the future.
— Black Press
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