One of the world’s most popular social media platforms has come under fire since President Donald Trump was censored and permanently banned. On Jan. 8, CEO Jack Dorsey decided to permanently ban Trump for what he claimed was a violation of their glorification of violence policy. On Jan. 6, Twitter had suppressed the president’s tweets telling his supporters to go home peacefully.
Trump condemned Twitter for banning him and accused the social media giant of being against free speech. He accused Twitter of being allied with the radical left and said that “some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely” on the platform. Twitter has suspended 70,000 accounts, claiming that they were promoting conspiracy theories and blames QAnon for the violence on Jan. 6 at Capitol Hill. There was widespread condemnation for Twitter’s actions from many who feel apprehensive about its power to limit free speech. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described Twitter’s move as “problematic.” Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader to Putin, also expressed that he felt the ban was unfair, pointing out how Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Maduro, who he called “cold-blooded murderers,” were still allowed to use the platform openly.
In Dorsey’s tweets, he wrote:
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here. After a clear warning we’d take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter. Was this correct?
“That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications. While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation. And a time for us to reflect on our operations and the environment around us.
“Yes, we all need to look critically at inconsistencies of our policy and enforcement. Yes, we need to look at how our service might incentivize distraction and harm. Yes, we need more transparency in our moderation operations. All this can’t erode a free and open global internet.”
In a video interview, Dorsey also expressed concern about how the U.S. is extremely divided and talked about Twitter’s role in that. He said: “Our role is to protect the integrity of that conversation and do what we can to make sure that no one is being harmed based on that, and that is the focus and the color we’re going to provide.”
Vijaya Gadde, Twitter Legal, Policy, and Trust & Safety Lead, also spoke on the issue in a video interview, saying: “One of the interesting things is a lot of the work that we’ve been doing over the last week is work that we’ve built on in other places around the world, where we’ve seen violence unfold as a result of either misleading information or coded rhetoric.” She also expressed how it was a difficult decision to conclude that Trump should be permanently banned, but that she was trying to think in the long term about where “we want to be in terms of building trust and enforcing policies consistently.”
Twitter’s stock has dropped 17 percent so far in 2021, and some experts expect it will only drop further. Trump had more than 88 million followers and engaged with a wide range of people who retweeted, liked, or replied to his frequent posting. Although Twitter claimed that Trump violated their glorification of violence policy, Trump did not call on his followers to engage in any violent acts, The Epoch Times reported.
The White House and Trump spoke individually against the violence at the Capitol in a statement on Jan. 7. A portion of Trump’s statement reads: “Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem. I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders.”