Liberals who rejoice over the Big Tech hammer that came down on President Donald Trump last week are missing the point, according to an organization that has made its disdain for the president crystal clear.
On Friday, Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s personal Twitter account, then followed that up by doing the same with his government and campaign accounts. Facebook has blocked Trump from posting until his term expires, at the earliest. Those drastic steps followed decisions to remove Trump tweets and videos that Big Tech maintained contributed to the incursion at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and could lead to further unrest.
Kate Ruane, a senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement that this illustration of Big Tech’s unchecked power should be a sobering lesson, even for Trump-haters.
“For months, President Trump has been using social media platforms to seed doubt about the results of the election and to undermine the will of voters. We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions – especially when political realities make those decisions easier,” the statement said.
“President Trump can turn to his press team or Fox News to communicate with the public, but others – like many Black, Brown, and LGTBQ activists who have been censored by social media companies – will not have that luxury. It is our hope that these companies will apply their rules transparently to everyone,” the statement said.
Here’s the full ACLU statement on the Twitter/Facebook ban of Trump: pic.twitter.com/1IkWujbugT
— Kim Zetter (@KimZetter) January 9, 2021
Gregory P. Magarian, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, said he is uneasy with the ability of Twitter to send any voice into limbo.
“I want a wide range of ideas, even those I loathe, to be heard, and I think Twitter, especially, holds a concerning degree of power over public discourse,” he said, according to The New York Times.
Twitter’s action spawned a conservative reaction. Talk show legend Rush Limbaugh deactivated his account, according to the New York Post.
Talk show host Mark Levin said he, too, would leave Twitter behind.
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) January 8, 2021
And Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that the time has come to rein in Big Tech.
It is now time for Congress to repeal Section 230 and put Big Tech on the same legal footing as every other company in America. Legal accountability.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 9, 2021
A report from CNN said Trump will use the fear that Big Tech can come down hard on anyone to attack social media companies during his final days in office.
“This isn’t just about President Trump, but this is literally about the 75 million Americans” who voted for him him, CNN reported what it called a Trump “adviser” as saying.
“Big Tech and Capitol Hill Democrats seem to have the magic ability to galvanize the Republican base in a way that only they know how to do,” the adviser said.
Brad Parscale, Trump’s former campaign manager, told The Washington Post that Trump should create his own platform when he leaves office.
Trump has said he is considering launching his own services, The Post reported.
“I believe the best avenue for POTUS is to use his own app to speak to his followers,” Parscale said, according to The Post.
Any attempts by Big Tech to block Trump, Parscale said, would give Trump “a clear path to a victorious lawsuit against them.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.