Twitter is now asking for the public’s input on “whether or not they believe world leaders should be subject to the same rules as others on Twitter.” Curious, since Twitter has never asked for the public’s opinion on banning anyone from the site, including after they banned the sitting President of the United States, Donald J Trump.
A public survey was released on March 19th from the platform that was said to “help inform the development” of Twitter’s policies and was available in 14 different languages. The survey is still available through April 12th, 2021 here: https://survey.twitterfeedback.com/survey/selfserve/53b/twt21006?list=1#?
“We want to serve the public conservation and allow the public to hear from and engage with leaders around the world,” Twitter said. “Ultimately, our aim is to have a policy that appropriately balances fundamental human rights and considers the global context in which we operate.”
When Twitter decided to deplatform and permanently ban President Trump over tweets he made before and after the Jan 6th rally at the Capitol, there was an influx of reactionary tweets ranging from celebratory, to outright disbelief, with some users even shutting down their own accounts and walking away from the platform for good.
Where was their interest in public opinion then?
According to a February 8th blog post on Twitter Inc.’s site, they laid out their reasoning for PERMANANTLY suspending the President of the United States from the platform.
The tweet that Twitter said “glorified violence” was one from a January 8th, 2021 which read:
“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!!!”
A follow up tweet from Trump was also mentioned by the platform which stated: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Twitter explained that you must add CONTEXT to these tweets, in respect to the January 6th event at the Capitol, but Twitter fails to mention the numerous times that President Trump used the platform to express to his base and to the public in general that violence would NOT be tolerated.
“Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks. After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.”
At 2:38pm on January 6th, the day that Trump told his followers to remember forever, the President asked for the support of law enforcement and Capitol police and urged those attending the protest to “Stay peaceful!”
Twitter doesn’t take this tweet into context, because it doesn’t help their narrative. As a matter of fact, they ignore it altogether, along with several other times the President asked his followers to remain peaceful by way of tweets.
During President Trump’s speech at the January 6th rally he continued to ask for those attending the event to remain peaceful:
“We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. Today we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections, but whether or not they stand strong for our country, our country. Our country has been under siege for a long time, far longer than this four-year period.”
Trump condemned acts of violence seen at the Capitol that day and in a video statement urged that attendees leave the event and remain peaceful.
“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home at peace.“
This video was immediately removed from Twitter, where it had first been released by President Trump on his account at 4:17pm on January 6th. Twitter also locked the President’s personal account where the video was posted for 12 hours as a result. He was punished for asking attendees to leave and to remain calm and peaceful. Why would Twitter remove a call by our own president to leave the Capitol? Why would Twitter NOT want the President to ask everyone to remain peaceful? Messages from our President never should have been removed.
Twitter Support explained their decision in a series of tweets on January 6th, and warned that if Trump didn’t remove the three tweets in question, his account would remain locked, adding a threat of permanent suspension if the account continued to violate Twitter Rules or their Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies:
The video was one of the three he was asked to remove. The other two read as follows:
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
Arguably, none of the three tweets he was asked to remove in order to regain access to his account violated Twitter’s policies on “Glorification of Violence”, nor their Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies.
Twitter explained in the same February blog post that their determination had been based on several factors, all of which would require that pesky CONTEXT that Twitter referenced earlier, and leaves plenty of room for interpretation of the tweets in question. Twitter says President Trump’s statements “may” be taken as violent or “interpreted” as support for those who were committing acts of violence at the Capitol. Seems a little vague, and subjective – much like their other rules that are constantly morphing depending on the situation.
The sentiment, “Don’t like how social media platforms are ran now? Create your own!” is often easier said than done, but the former president has decided to do just that. On Sunday, Jason Miller, Senior Advisor to Trump told Fox News’ #MediaBuzz:
“I do think that we’re going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months here, with his own platform. And this is something that I think will be the hottest ticket in social media, it’s going to completely redefine the game, and everybody is going to be waiting and watching to see what exactly President Trump does.” Miller added, “This new platform is going to be big,” and will bring “tens of millions of people.”
A new social media platform will be challenging for the former president. Depending on the team Trump surrounds himself with, (if his past character assessments have told us anything). Let’s hope the past few years of being surrounded by swamp creatures and wayward friends have been enough to increase his levels of discernment.