- Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have banned US President Donald Trump post the Capitol Hill incident.
- These platforms never took such drastic steps when he was a powerful man.
- Now the power transition is reflecting in social media's decision-making approach.
Social media platforms are taking the strictest action against incumbent US President Donald Trump by banning him from their respective platforms. The latest being Twitter, which permanently suspended his account on 8 January 2021. After banning the President, Twitter has also blocked his team’s account. The team account posted a statement from President accusing Twitter of not allowing Free speech and collaborating with the forthcoming ruling party.
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The attack on the Capitol Hill has done a lot of damage to the departing President's reputation. He had advised his supporters to march to Capitol Hill to protest the presidential elections' outcomes and interrupt the Electoral College count. His supporters exactly did that, which resulted in the loss of multiple lives. It was not the first time Mr Trump had posted a toxic expression on the social media platform, but what happened this time was like the final nail in the coffin. His appeal to his supporters led them to resort to violence, and the same day, platforms like Twitter and Facebook banned Trump to restrain him from spreading further hate speech, especially until Biden becomes the next US President on 20 January 2021.
Why didn't these platforms act earlier?
These social media platforms do have policies regarding the content that can be published. However, it always appeared that these platforms were softer towards the powerful President of America. Twitter's policy clearly prohibits any hateful content related to a religion. Still, when Trump said hateful things about the Muslim religion in 2015, Twitter did not take such a drastic step, probably because he was a powerful man.
The change of the axis of power seems to play a significant role in their decisions now. Moreover, these actions will decide these platforms' future trends when it comes to taking action against political leaders’ offensive content. Trump was extremely active on social media, and he always used it as a tool to spread his controversial messages. This outcome has led to a framework for future leaders and will force them to think about such messages' repercussions before posting them.
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While banning Mr Trump from Facebook until at least 20 January 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave the reason for the strict action against the US president. However, his statement clearly contradicted what Mr Zuckerberg had said earlier to justify his softer stance towards such posts. Earlier, he had said that Facebook should not have been the truth's arbiter of things people say on its platform.
These platforms got multiple chances to stop him from spreading such messages, which were not appropriate as per their guidelines, but they somehow refrained from going all against the President. However, they posted his messages with fact-checking tags, which created conflict between Trump and Twitter.
With Trump’s days as the US president almost numbered, it seems much easier to take such an action, as the platforms are sounding so responsible and powerful now.
Twitter's decision to hide Trump's post on George Floyd protests in May last year was a responsible move and hinted that the platform was serious about acting responsibly.