Big tech couldn’t even wait until after the inauguration to do what we all knew was coming anyway.
Last night President Donald Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter, something many Democrats in power have called for for a long time. That came after a temporary suspension on Wednesday after Trump released a video telling those storming the Capitol to be peaceful and go home, but also repeated claims about election fraud.
Trump’s personal account @RealDonaldTrump was first permanently suspended, and then when Trump tried to post to the @POTUS account, a government account, that too was quickly banned. Many other conservative twitter users are reporting significant drops in followers, likely because many small accounts are being purged too.
Meanwhile, Trump’s Facebook is indefinitely suspended until “at least” the inauguration.
And it’s not just Facebook and Twitter. We’re witnessing a coordinated hit from big tech.
Reddit banned /r/DonaldTrump, the largest pro-Trump forum on the site, and Discord banned the server “The Donald” while acknowledging there was no evidence the chat played any role in inciting violence at all.
Twitch, a streaming service owned by Amazon, and Snapchat, both suspended Trump’s accounts.
Shopify took down two online stores affiliated with Trump, one belonging to his campaign and the other to the Trump Organization.
Michael Flynn was also kicked off Twitter permanently, and Steve Bannon’s YouTube channel was permanently suspended. Then Parler was taken off Google’s Google Play store, and Apple has threatened to follow suit.
Are we to believe it’s just a coincidence that this is all happening within 24-hours?
Is there any doubt this is why Democrats were so resistant to Trump’s calls to repeal section 230? He knew what was coming – and so did they.
The obvious response to these developments from the libertarian types is that platforms can allow on anyone they want, and that the first amendment only applies to the government, not private corporations. Of course, we already know this, and seldom does a conservative argue for free speech on a first amendment basis, but rather for it as a cultural value. Furthermore, part of the reason a small bakery can refuse to “bake the cake” for a gay couple (to give a recent example) is because we live in a world with no shortage of bakeries – there will always be another down the street willing to bake it if one won’t.
That is not the case for massive social media platforms, which have effectively become the modern equivalent of a town square.