SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 8: U.S. President Donald Trump’s suspended Twitter account … [+]
Last week, Twitter permanently banned President Donald Trump’s account – and over the weekend quickly put an end to the president’s attempts to switch to alternative accounts, including the official POTUS account. The president also faced a ban on social media giant Facebook.
And it wasn’t just President Trump who was essentially silenced as Amazon shut down web servers over the weekend for Parler, the Twitter alternative that had attracted a large Conservative following.
On Monday it was reported that Parler has sued Amazon Web Services, and in a statement the company alleged, “AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account appears to be motivated by political animations. AWS, combined with the defendant, is in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act Twitter. AWS also violates it[s] Agreement with Parler that requires AWS Parler to give Parler 30 days ‘notice prior to termination of service, rather than the less than 30 hours’ notice actually provided by AWS. Ultimately, AWS is deliberately tampering with potential economic advantage given the millions of users expected to sign up in the near future. “
While it is unclear what will happen next, it appears that President Trump and his supporters have been largely silenced by this point.
The suspension of Trump by Twitter and the closure of Parler are just the latest topics highlighting the very deep divide in our country and it is unlikely that this will change anytime soon.
“Internet censorship is an incredibly controversial issue right now,” said Claire Cole, creative partner at Gamblers Pick, who recently conducted a study that found that a significant number of Americans believe that social media businesses may be are morally obliged to censor content.
“Our study found that more than one in four believes there should be more censorship on the Internet, while nearly one in three thinks there should be less censorship,” added Cole. “Despite differing opinions, the majority of people agree that social media platforms should have the right to censor content within their platform (s).”
What type of content is being discussed is controversial, as posts promoting or inciting violence were the second largest concern of respondents. 60% think they should be censored from the internet.
“Similarly, 59% of people believe that certain content should be banned to stop the spread of misinformation,” added Cole.
A major problem is that social media is still an evolving platform. Twitter really started out as a tool that allowed people in social circles to “yell” at each other, but it has increasingly become a broadcasting platform to reach the masses.
In the case of President Trump, it was used at times as his primary way of reaching his supporters. While it cannot be denied that the president has released information that is far from true, the question is whether this actually warrants his silence.
“The original Internet was based on the premise that if you don’t like it, you don’t look,” said technology industry advisor Lon Safko, author of the Social Media Bible. “The Internet has been available for 25 years. All of us who introduced the Internet early on were always stifled and delighted that our government has not engaged, intervened or intervened in a quarter of a century.” Regulations have been made on the Internet. The only time our government ever intervened was to impose taxes on internet purchases. Few remember that anything you bought online did not include state sales tax. “
Silence the government
As most experts agree, this is not exactly a censorship problem as the government is not attempting to silence a news organization or otherwise suppress First Amendment rights. However, it could be argued that this is the first time the government has been essentially silenced by the media.
“(The social media platforms) have largely censored Trump and his administration,” added Safko. “Any form of censorship, any form is unacceptable. Social platforms like Facebook, whose main business is open communication between their 2.7 billion+ members, have the moral and legal responsibility to keep these conversations organic. All conversations, all sides this conversation. And if the viewer does not agree or is offended by this conversation, it is your right to just close the window and walk away. “
It is noteworthy that Safko largely supported this. If the government (on both sides of the aisle) were to stop such forms of communication, it would be a big problem.
“For Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter and others, it is not only criminal to censor, manipulate and influence an entire US election to achieve their own political goals, but also a form of betrayal. This is in the US Constitution clearly stated. You should be held accountable, “he added.
“As providers of information that reaches billions of people around the world, these social platforms once again have the moral and legal responsibility to provide this information clearly, organically and without political censorship,” said Safko. “Regardless of which government is inaugurated on January 20th, it must become a national top priority. If this does not become a priority, we as a people must demand the answer as to why this government is ignoring treason within our borders.”