On January 6, a large-scale demonstration broke out in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. Some demonstrators broke into the Capitol to destroy and loot, which attracted global attention.
Subsequently, mainstream social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and other mainstream social media have successively taken measures to restrict or close Trump’s accounts, believing that Trump used social platforms to incite the riot and may continue to incite violence.
In response, supporters believe that the measure “come too late”, while opponents say it means that “freedom of speech is dead”.
Twitter: Close Trump’s personal account permanently
On January 8, Twitter officially released a statement saying that Trump’s personal Twitter account had been permanently closed in view of “the risk of further inciting riots”.
In the statement, Twitter officially attached a detailed interpretation of Trump’s tweets, believing that his remarks violated Twitter’s anti-“glorification violence rules and were likely to incite others to imitate the riots in the Capitol on January 6.
In fact, on the day of the Capitol riots, Twitter had frozen Trump’s account for 12 hours and said that Trump would permanently block his account if he violated Twitter rules again.
After the account was unblocked, Trump posted on Twitter on January 8 that “75 million American voters who voted for me support ‘America First’ and ‘Make America Great Again’, and their voices will remain loud for many years to come.” Subsequently, Trump tweeted that he would not attend Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
Twitter believes that the above two tweets incited the January 6 congressional riots and are likely to trigger more violence.
Twitter also noted that there have been a large number of “plans to organize armed protests” on the Twitter platform, including “premeditated attacks on the Capitol and the state capitol building on January 17.” In the end, Twitter permanently blocked Trump’s account.
According to CNN, after his personal account was blocked, Trump tried to bypass the ban through the official account of the President of the United States (@POTUS), but was quickly deleted by Twitter.
Facebook, Instagram: Freeze Trump accounts for at least two weeks, or ‘indefinitely’
On January 7, Facebook officially issued a statement saying that “the risk of allowing Trump to continue to use our services during this period is too great”, so the freeze on Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will be extended for at least the next two weeks, or adopt “indefinitely”. Freeze.
On the day of the Capitol riots on January 6, Facebook officials had launched “emergency action”, deleting relevant videos and remarks released by Trump and freezing Trump’s account for 24 hours.
On January 7, Zuckerberg sent a Facebook article condemning the Capitol riots and decided to extend the freezing of Trump’s account. Zuckerberg believes that Trump’s use of the Facebook platform to “forgive, not condemn, supporters who break into the Capitol” may “induce more violence”.
As a result, Facebook extended the freeze on Trump accounts for the next two weeks, “until the peaceful regime handover is completed” and there is a possibility of a “indefinite” freeze.
Zuckerberg pointed out that in the past few years, Facebook has allowed Trump to use the platform in compliance, only occasionally deleting some content or labeling his remarks as contrary to the platform’s rules. But, Zuckerberg believes, “It’s a completely different situation now, and Trump is suspected of using our platform to incite riots.”
YouTube: Banning Trump from releasing new videos for 7 days or more
According to CNN, on the evening of January 12 local time, YouTube announced that Trump’s account would be frozen for at least a week or more. YouTube said that Trump’s recent videos incited riots, and it has deleted Trump’s videos and issued warnings.
A YouTube spokesman issued a statement saying that “in view of concerns about the current potential riots, we deleted Trump’s newly released videos and issued him a warning about violating platform regulations and inciting riots”, so “Trump’s account is banned from publishing new videos or new live broadcasts for at least seven days, and it is also possible. It can be extended.
In addition, YouTube also said that it would close the comments under the video released by Trump.
On January 12, Trump told the media that “high-tech companies are doing bad things for our country, and I believe it is a disastrous mistake for them. This has caused many problems and dangers. CNN believes that this statement may trigger YouTube restrictions on Trump’s account.
Apple, Google, Amazon: Remove the social platform Parler, which Trump supporters often use
According to Reuters, on January 9, Apple said that it had removed Parler from the Apple application market and asked Parler to submit a detailed control plan within 24 hours. Apple believes that many Parler users used the platform to coordinate the planning of the Capitol riot on January 6.
On January 9, Google removed Parler from the Google App market. Google believes that many Parler users participated in organizing the March and the Capitol riots in Washington, D.C., on January 6, and continue to incite the riots.
From January 10, Amazon suspended cloud services and web services for Parler.According to CNN, Parler is a common social platform used by Trump supporters, and it is regarded as a “safe haven” by supporters after Twitter permanently closed Trump’s account.
In response, Parler chairman John Matze expressed dissatisfaction, saying that “this is a means for technology giants to jointly wipe out market competition… The war around competition and freedom of speech will continue.”
Trump has been “blocked” by mainstream social media in a row. What does the outside world think?
According to the Washington Post, in addition to the above social media platforms, Snapchat blocked Trump’s account indefinitely on January 6, saying that it was worried that Trump’s remarks would trigger a threat of violence.
Reddit, Twitch, LiquidWeb and other platforms have also taken relevant blocking measures on Trump’s accounts.
There are mixed reactions to the ban on Trump’s account on mainstream social media. Supporters thought it was the right move, even saying the ban was “too late.” Greg Bensinger, a member of the New York Times editorial board, said that “a sense of mission is more important than interests…
social media platforms should play a fundamental role in restoring facts and upholding democracy.”
Free speech activist Jillian York also believes that such action must be taken. She also said that platforms such as Facebook took the ban too late and did not issue the ban until the last minute.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner said he was very happy to see these social media platforms finally take action against Trump’s use of these platforms to incite violence, and he also said that these actions were “a little late and insufficient”.
However, some people are worried about the banning of a country’s presidential accounts on social media. According to Reuters on January 11, some Republican officials expressed dissatisfaction, which they believed restricted the president’s right to freedom of expression. Donald Jr., Trump’s eldest son, even tweeted that “free speech is dead”.
German Chancellor Merkel also criticized Twitter’s permanent ban on Trump’s account. She believed that it should be legislators, not private companies, who decided to restrict freedom of expression.
Thierry Breton, the internal market commissioner of the European Union, believes that a series of events last week herald a new era of strengthening official control. The Sunday Times said in a review that “blocking a sitting president’s social media account, no matter what, is an attack on freedom of speech”.
In addition, according to Reuters, some investors are worried that the “blocking” of Trump by mainstream social media may cause greater economic losses.
On January 11, Twitter’s shares fell more than 6%, Facebook lost 4%, and YouTube owner Alphabet lost 2%. Some investors who invest in Twitter worry that after Twitter permanently closes Trump accounts, Twitter may face more restrictions than strong competitors such as Facebook.
Biden also privately criticized the high-tech industry giant’s “overwhelming arrogance”, according to sources. Analysts believe that Biden may take more legal measures to weaken these high-tech companies in the next four years.