New information revealed in the fourth release of Twitter files, documents how the Internet portal railroaded the former president and bent the rules to force his removal from the site.
On January 6, 2021 former President Donald Trump sent a message over his Twitter account for rioters to go home and to refrain from violence. This tweet mirrored what he had already said on television in a direct appeal to demonstrators to be nonviolent.
Nevertheless, on January 8th, two days after the riot, Twitter permanently banned Trump, while he was still in office as president of the United States.
Recently released Twitter files demonstrate that the decision to ban Trump stemmed from what Internet journalist Michael Shellenberger called “internal and external pressure” from inside and outside Twitter to ban him.
Specifically, Shellenberger reported that Twitter executives “create[d] justifications to ban Trump … [sought] a change of policy for Trump alone, distinct from other political leaders” and “…express[ed] no concern for the free speech or democracy implications of a ban.”
Part of the pressure to ban Trump came from former First Lady Michelle Obama, Shellenberger notes.
“Their January 8 decision was based,” Shellenberger reports, on “specifically how [Trump’s tweets] are being received & interpreted, But, in 2019, Twitter explicitly rejected suggestions that it should base its banning decisions on the way tweets are being received. Back then, Twitter said it did “not attempt to determine all potential interpretations of the content or its intent.'” But, in violation of this policy, what they said was the reaction to Trump’s tweets, was precisely the grounds for banning him from Twitter.
A review of the internal decision-making history of Trump’s ban shows a clear ideological bias that is wholly inconsistent with the express provisions of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act embodied in the terms of service agreement that every Twitter user has to accept to have access to the site. It provides that no tech company may “discriminate based on party or ideology.”
Except where Donald Trump is involved.
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