Analyst: Trump Facebook ban mostly “symbolic”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday they will bar Trump from posting at least until the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Some are calling the measure “more symbolic” than beneficial with two weeks left in the Trump presidency. (Jan. 7)
“Banning someone is a very significant measure of revoking their voice and revoking their voice in the debate, and that has to be it has to happen with some consideration,” Monica Stephens, a professor at the University of Buffalo, said.
The move, which many called long overdue following Wednesday’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, is also a reminder of the enormous power that social-media platforms can wield when they choose.
“We can’t just revoke someone’s voice because we don’t agree with what they say. We have to only revoke their voice when they passed a line and a limit of the standards that we will accept for dangerous speech. And Zuckerberg waited until the President passed that line,” Stephens said.
Stephans points out that the events at the Capitol were not being organized on Facebook. “Facebook was a very limited use within this. And banning Trump from Facebook seems to be almost more symbolic at this point than necessarily beneficial.”
It remains unclear how the platforms will handle Trump once he leaves office and is no longer shielded from enforcement of most rules by his status as a world leader. And some critics saw the moves as cynical efforts by the companies to position themselves for a post-Trump future.
“Social media companies for years have been complicit in allowing misinformation and violence and hate to spread on their platforms,” Barbara Ortutay, a technology writer at the Associated Press said. “The fact that they’re doing it now two weeks before the next president takes office is a little bit late.”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the risk of allowing Trump to use the platform is too great; his account could be locked indefinitely.
Twitter on Wednesday also temporarily locked President Donald Trump’s accounts after he repeatedly posted false accusations about the integrity of the election.
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