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Trump's Social Media Bans

Deja Tyla Hansen Deja Tyla Hansen
14th January 2021
Trump's Social Media Bans
Trump has been banned from most major social media sites.

Here at Misbar, it’s our job to review and analyze data to separate the truth from the rumors. Today, we’re taking a closer look at social media bans that have been placed on President Donald Trump on both Twitter and Facebook.

Trump’s Twitter Ban

On January 8th, Twitter suspended President Trump’s twitter account (@realDonaldTrump) due to what they called “risk of further incitement of violence.” Now when users visit Trump’s Twitter account, they’re presented with the typical “Account suspended” message, as shown below. A supporting image within the article body

This ban occurred merely days after some say that Trump encouraged his supporters to march and protest at the U.S. Capitol building. During this event, roughly four people died, and several others were arrested. 

The following displays the exact message Twitter reported across social media:

A supporting image within the article body

Twitter has backed up their decision by informing the public of the previous tweets that President Trump produced that they believe only incited additional violence and helped them confirm their decision.

These tweets included the following posts from Donald Trump:

“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Both of these tweets were posted on January 8, 2021. Using these tweets as fuel, in their final assessment, Twitter claimed their decision was based on the following factors:

  • Trump’s tweets encouraged violent acts during Inauguration when specifically letting individuals know he wouldn’t be in attendance.
  • Trump’s statement demonstrates that he doesn’t see the recent election as legitimate.
  • Plans have begun to develop by future protestors for additional attacks starting January 17th, 2021.
  • Trump’s statements in the first post indicate that he doesn’t plan to help facilitate an easy transition out of office.
  • Trump uses the words “American Patriots” in way that could be understood as supporting them and their violent acts.

Trump’s Facebook Ban

What is Facebook’s view on this ban? Similar to Twitter, Facebook’s leadership has stated: “We believe the risks of allowing President Trump to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great, so we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks.”

This message was also compounded with a statement that Trump’s Facebook page violated two of their policies and they would be taking additional messages to ensure content was removed and other information was not delegitimatized.

Some of these measures include the following:

  • Removing content such as “Calls for protests — even peaceful ones — if they violate the curfew in DC” and “Attempts to restage violence tomorrow or in the coming days.”
  • Removing video of Trump speaking about protests and election results.
  • Updating labels on posts that attempt to delegitimize the election results.
  • Banning militarized social movements such as the Oathkeepers and QAnon.

First Amendment Rights

If you’ve ever read the U.S. Constitution, you’d learn that the U.S. provides its citizens many basic rights. The most widely known and common amendment is the first amendment. This amendment provides U.S. citizens some of the following rights:

  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of press
  • Freedom of assembly

So, did Trump’s Twitter ban contradict these first amendment rights? Do Twitter and Facebook reserve the right to place these bans? These are great questions! Legally, every company reserves the right to outline rules of engagement when using their services and currently, these companies are the “judges” when it comes to evaluating whether or not an individual has violated their rules.

With that in mind, let’s see what other people are saying about these bans:

Popular Reactions – Against Trump’s Ban

Considering the first amendment rights we’ve discussed many have expressed clear opposition to Trump’s Twitter ban.

Rush Limbaugh, one of the leading conservative talk radio host, deactivated his Twitter upon hearing the news of Trump’s ban.

Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, criticized the ban stating the ban was “problematic” due to the fundamental right of opinion. Her representative continued to speak on her behalf further, declaring that: “This fundamental right can be intervened in, but according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators — not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms.” In other words, Merkel and her team believe that social media companies shouldn’t reserve the right to ban an individual’s right to share and broadcast their opinion.

Popular Reactions – Pro Trump’s Ban

On the other side of social media, there’s a line of supporters who have encouraged the ban against Trump.

Billy Eichner is quoted posting on January 8th: “Don’t just ban him from Twitter, FORCE him to join Bumble.”

Similarly, Bette Mildler posted: “THANK YOU #TWITTER! Please re-tweet!”

Rick Reilly made a post making an analogy comparing the situation to golf. He stated: “Trump lost his PGA, has been banned forever from the Open Championship, and just lost his contract to run Bronx Ferry Links. Golf, I've never been prouder of  you.”

Bottom Line – Think before you post.

We live in a world where you can communicate with millions of people from the comfort of your home. This means that when you post a message, you now have the ability to impact the opinions of others in a way that wasn’t available merely fifteen years ago.

Freedom of speech is not very free when your message can now impact millions and do what some may claim enacts damage or violence on others. Unfortunately, the determination and verdict on the intent of your message is not in your hands anymore, it’s in the hands of the service providers.

No one is safe from the scrutiny of social media organizations and leaders.