Perspectives: Big Tech Deplatforms Trump, Raising Questions About Censorship
Headline Roundup January 12th, 2021
The banning of President Donald Trump by private tech companies has given rise to a broader discourse over the future of online speech and accusations of censorship. In addition to Trump, Twitter also suspended over 70,000 “accounts that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content,” citing last week’s deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol building, which was planned on social media. Furthermore, Apple, Google and Amazon banned Parler, a social media app popular among conservatives, citing the app’s lack of “adequate” moderation policies against threats of violence.
Voices in right-rated outlets tended to accuse tech companies of censorship and address Republicans’ push to repeal or amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Voices in left- and center-rated outlets were mixed, with some voices outright defending banning Trump and others raising concerns about the future of tech companies’ power over online speech.
Can right-wing populist sentiment be banished from American life by the brute force of social-media censorship? We’re about to find out. After Wednesday’s mob invasion of the Capitol that disrupted the counting of electoral votes, big tech firms have moved, aggressively and in unison, against Donald Trump and his supporters. The companies say they want to marginalize the violent fringe, but their censorship will grow it instead.
On Thursday and Friday came the Facebook and Twitter bans of Mr. Trump. Given the extraordinary circumstances, some commentators who normally oppose web...
Last week saw unprecedented mob violence in our nation’s capital and a huge shift in the internet’s relationship with President Donald Trump. Major sites like Facebook and Twitter, which excused harassment and outright threats from the president for years, banned him in a matter of days. The social network Parler, a home for Trump supporters too extreme for those big networks, was banned from Apple and Google’s App Stores and then by Amazon’s hosting services. As of this morning, the network cannot be accessed in any way.
Skeptics have called...
Thanks to the 1st Amendment, government in the United States has little power to stop people from speaking their minds. But the Bill of Rights doesn’t constrain Facebook, Twitter and other Big Tech companies, which decided in the wake of last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol that the world has heard enough from President Trump.
On one level, it’s understandable that private companies would not want their services and platforms used to foment violence and undermine democracy. On another, their actions show just how much power over global speech...