Banning Donald Trump is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound 🤕
Are social media companies missing the bigger picture?
Donald Trump has been banned indefinitely from various social media platforms, including: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit and Twitch after years of inciting violence from his supporters which came to a head with a domestic terrorist attack in the the United States Capitol.
Too little too late? ⌛️
In my opinion, yes. The reaction from the social media giants, especially Facebook and Twitter, came way (way) too late. Facebook and Twitter have for a long time served as the main platforms where authoritarian leaning figures like Donald Trump have gotten their hate speech amplified and rewarded with engagement-based algorithms that incentivize tribalism and push users into echo chambers, which is what fueled the riot in the first place.
Is banning Trump the real solution? 🚫
I think no. What happened in Washington DC has made painfully obvious the impact big tech companies can have on the erosion of democracies around the globe. Banning Donald Trump was like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. Some people are joyfully celebrating and others cursing up and down; and in the midst of all this, I wonder if tech companies are missing the bigger picture:
- Functionally, there is no difference between a verified (blue check) account like an actor or a singer and an elected public official. As public servers, should their accounts behave like those of private citizens?
- Is it okay for them to have the same features as a regular user or should they be managed under a different set of rules?
- As the online world bleeds into the real world, how will tech companies balance the responsibility to uphold freedom of speech and banish hate speech?
These are questions we need answers to as Trump is not the only president that has used Twitter as a tool for governing a country.
Other Trumps around the world 🌎
There’s no denying that social media networks, especially Twitter, have become indispensable tools for communication among world leaders. And as long as social media companies treat political figures as regular users that exploit the engagement-based algorithm that feeds the Us vs. Them mentality, we will continue to have more public unrest and violent outbursts.
Case in point, just look at what followed the riot:
The current president of El Salvador Nayib Bukele, is seemingly consulting the same playbook as Donald Trump. He tweets orders to his cabinet and basically runs the country via twitter, routinely incites violence and rallies his supporters, and even blocks those who dare criticize him from seeing his tweets and interacting with him (Should presidents have this feature at all?).
The tweet I shared above is extremely concerning and some people are rightfully calling on @TwitterSafety to take action. However, the tweet is still there!!😢 like it’s not a threat of violence, like it doesn’t matter; but it matters a whole lot because It’s undermining the democracy that my country fought so hard to obtain.
If social media companies think of themselves as global companies, they should start acting as such and pay attention to what happens around the world, not only in the United States of America.