In a move that reeks of virtue signaling, the social media company Snapchat has permanently banned President Donald Trump from using its platform.
A spokesman said Wednesday said that the decision was “in the interest of public safety.”
“Last week we announced an indefinite suspension of President Trump’s Snapchat account, and have been assessing what long term action is in the best interest of our Snapchat community,” the spokesperson told TechCrunch.
“In the interest of public safety, and based on his attempts to spread misinformation, hate speech, and incite violence, which are clear violations of our guidelines, we have made the decision to permanently terminate his account.”
These actions were part of an effort by large technology companies that they claim would stop the possible spread of information leading to incitement of further violence following the Capitol incursion last Wednesday.
While Snapchat is an influential company in its own right, the logistics of its ban in particular seems like performative activism.
The Trump campaign did use Snapchat to connect with young voters, but not to the same extent that the campaign used Facebook or that Trump himself used Twitter.
Personally, it would be hard to picture a statement from the president coming from the app, which is overwhelmingly used by young people. Perhaps he or his social media guru Dan Scavino would have liked to experiment with dog filters after they depart the White House.
Trump getting de-platformed may seem like a massive victory to many on the left, except it sets a terrible precedent for free speech.
It is true that these are private companies that technically have a right to suspend any account they please, but that does not exempt them from criticism.
When the ayatollah of Iran and the Chinese government are allowed to have accounts that push propaganda to cover up human rights violations, it becomes clear that Twitter does not have a consistent standard in terms of content moderation.
The west must end sanctions immediately. Sanctions are a vicious move and a major act of hostility against not only the Iranian establishment but also the Iranian people. Of course we should adjust our economy such that it won’t be hurt by sanctions. This is possible. #StrongIRAN
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 14, 2021
If world leaders were held accountable for their words across all platforms, this would be a much different story.
However, the truth of the matter is very obvious — most of these technology companies are generally operated by liberals in Silicon Valley, making their standard for what is extreme and what isn’t distilled with a left-wing bias.
I believe this was the right decision for Twitter. We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.
— jack (@jack) January 14, 2021
Many of Trump’s tweets were in poor taste, but actions without consistency are just plain hypocrisy.
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