Trump Twitter ban raises concerns over ‘uncontrolled’ power of big technology


His frequent communication on channels, sometimes dozens of times on his personal Twitter feed “@realdonaldtrump”, was considered official presidential communication.

Many critics of Trump’s rhetoric have also renewed their attacks on “big technology”, fomenting the sentiment of Jr.’s tweet by denying conservatives and accusing Donald Trump’s companies that “free-speech is now America.” Does not exist in

Trump, who, along with other conservatives, was jailed for a long time against social media veterans for allegedly being biased against conservatives, blasted Twitter on Friday in a statement released by the White House. He said the company “went further in banning free speech” and suspended their account in an attempt to “silence” them.

So is it a matter of free speech or something?

Irvine Cheminski, professor of constitutional law and dean of Berkeley Law, said the First Amendment does not apply to the issue of Trump’s suspension of accounts because it is meant to protect people from being silenced by the government.

“A private company, no matter how large, does not have to follow the first amendment. Facebook and Twitter can suspend who they want and do not have a first adjustment issue.”

Katie Fallow, a senior staff attorney at Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, said that although there would be “no First Amendment claim against Twitter for banning President Trump,” the issue of freedom to speak is a debate in many ways .

Civil rights groups alarm at the uncontrolled power of big technology

Big Tech’s increasingly powerful role in public discourse is debated and criticized from both the left and right, with both sides arguing that platforms such as Twitter and Facebook increasingly shape debate and censored speech in the digital world There is too much power.

Various civil rights groups, including the NAACP, have criticized Twitter and Facebook for allowing presidential conspiracy theories and false claims.

Arisha Hatch, vice president of progressive advocacy nonprofit Color of Change, praised Twitter’s decision to ban Trump, but told ABC News on Monday that it was long overdue and showed Trump’s “more privilege The methods obtained were “treated.”

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union, which was critical of Trump’s rhetoric on social media, sounded the alarm after it was banned by Twitter, saying that “while we understand the desire to suspend him permanently,” uncapped. Companies like Power “on Facebook and Twitter” should worry everyone. “

Trump and other key figures may turn to press teams or media outlets to communicate with the public, said ACLU senior legislator attorney Kate Rouan, but “many black, brown and LGBTQ activists who have been censored have their The pass is not “luxury”.

Hatch echoed these concerns and said the right call when Trump was suspended was “large tech companies have too much power” and “should be subject to deep government regulation.”

How social media companies are protected under federal law

According to Fallow, the Trump presidency has introduced new questions and challenges for social media platforms, free speech advocates and lawmakers, trying to navigate an “unprecedented” environment.

He said, “Some people have applied (for) antitrust legislation on social media platforms, which consider that the speech environment is essentially a monopoly, but they are not legally legitimate waters.” “

Antitrust laws apply to other large companies and in a new world dominating social media, lawmakers on both sides have argued that anti-trust laws need to be scrapped to rein in big technology.

Top Democratic Congress lawmakers released a report in October about prominent Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, stating, “Simply put, companies that were once angry challenged the startup It was that we have become a sort of past monopoly as the status quo. Seen in the era of Oil Baron and Railroad Tycoon. “

Meanwhile, social media companies are protected under federal law by section 230 – a provision of the 1996 Communications and Decency Act, which, unlike traditional media companies, shields platforms from being held in court for users’ speech .

Trump and several of his aides have called for repeal of Section 230 to curb the power of social media companies, but Fallow points out that a repeal hurts “his own cause”, especially if Trump did his social Followed by starting the work Media Forum.

For instance, with Section 230, Trump-friendly platforms such as Parler – which are increasingly used by Trump and his supporters after the president was suspended from Twitter – are shielded from liability on their users’ speech, So they don’t have to regulate it.

Parler, a conservative-friendly social network that is also being used by far-flung and white nationalist individuals, was booted by various platforms, including Google, Amazon and Apple, over concerns that users would be under siege on the US Capitol After this, further violence is instigating. And that Parler was not policing the material.

According to experts, platforms such as Parler helped create an echo chamber for violence and extremist views and also provided a forum for some of the coordination of last week’s attack.

But social media companies also have the legal basis to make a First Amendment argument in defense of their policies, including Trump’s decision to suspend his account – or someone else’s.

Private companies, including tech companies, have the first right and property to determine who and what type of speech they conduct on their platforms – a view that has been upheld by the Supreme Court, with followers in particular Ruled by conservative judges from. Favor of businesses.

But the same protection did not apply to Trump’s own Twitter account when he blocked many users because it was considered a public political platform to which First Amendment Protection applied.

In July 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that the legal battle for the president was lost, as it was unconstitutional for him to withhold critics on social media.

“The court considered that when a public official uses a social media account to host a speech … it is a public forum of sorts,” Trump said.

“When they blocked people from their account, it means that they could no longer answer them, and they could no longer participate in the discussion.”

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