A much-delayed social media snub for Trump - GulfToday

A much-delayed social media snub for Trump

Donald Trump banned on Twitter

After several warnings, Twitter and Facebook finally suspended Donald Trump's accounts for inciting violence.

The action by social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook to ban Donald Trump from their websites appears to be too little, too late. By the time social media companies took action against users and groups spurring on the siege of Capitol Hill this week, the damage had been done.

Trump has been repeatedly using the social media platforms to fire salvoes at his opponents. Extremely intolerant of any kind of criticism, he has perfected making provocative speeches to a fine art. He knows how to work up the crowd, who revealed their beastly, rowdy selves in the assault on Capitol Hill. The attack on the respected seat of the US Congress also shows the kind of supporters that Trump has managed to cultivate.

Trump also faces action from his political opponents. He has the prospect of encountering a renewed drive by Democrats to remove him from office in the wake of the Capitol Hill attack.

Twitter permanently cut off Trump’s personal account and access to his nearly 90 million followers late on Friday, citing the risk of further incitement of violence, three days after Trump exhorted thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol.

The resulting chaos, viewed with shock around the world, left a police officer and four others dead in its wake.

But Trump has been making dangerous speeches in the past. In May, Twitter hid a tweet by US President Donald Trump behind a warning for the first time, accusing him of breaking its rules by “glorifying violence” in a message that said looters at protests in Minneapolis would be shot.

Trump’s frequent use of Twitter was a key part of his campaign as he overhauled the Republican Party and beat Democrat Hillary Clinton to win the presidency in 2016. Since then he has used it to fire up his political base.

Last year, he attacked Somalia-born US Representative Ilhan Omar and three other Democratic lawmakers on Twitter, all minority women, saying they should “go back” to where they came from.

However, Twitter’s ban could have a counter-productive effect. It may project him as someone who was sacrificed over issues of free speech, and provide fuel to the ammunition of his followers.

For some reason whatsoever, Twitter has long resisted pressure to suspend Trump’s account. But after a “close review” of the president’s recent tweets, the company said on Friday evening it “had permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

For weeks, content on big tech platforms Facebook Inc , Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube along with upstart fringe social networks had predicted the attack on Capitol Hill.

In one Facebook post identified by online advocacy group Avaaz, an illustration of Trump holding a machine gun in front of the White House is accompanied by the words “Come and Take it.” Another depicted Trump as Uncle Sam with text paraphrasing the president: “I want you in Washington DC January 6. It’s going to be WILD.”

Facebook said it “removed content and accounts that violated our policies against inciting violence and dangerous organisations in the lead-up to January 6.”

A Twitter spokeswoman said the company had “taken enforcement action on thousands of accounts that were attempting to undermine the public conversation and cause real-world harm.”

Disinformation experts said that while big platforms allowed radical racists, violence enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists to amass large audience, leading influencers learned what they could get away with.

Before Facebook took down its page late on Tuesday, Red-State Secession had urged its nearly 8,000 followers to find the home addresses of officials who “helped steal the election.”

It linked to a website which declared last week a “second American revolution” would start on Jan. 6 and urged supporters to follow its accounts on more permissive social-media platforms “before we get deleted.”

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