Should Twitter ban Donald Trump? | The Tylt

FINAL RESULTS
Should Twitter ban Donald Trump?
A festive crown for the winner
#TrumpsGottaGo
#DontBanThePrez

After Donald Trump published a series of demonstrably false tweets, several media outlets have called on Twitter to ban the President-elect from the platform. Trump supporters say restricting social access to public officials sets a terrible precedent and creates a corrosive echo chamber against conservative thought. But media critics argue Trump is using Twitter to spread so-called "fake news," and creating a toxic environment for political discourse and media literacy. What say you? Vote now!

Dataviz
Real-time Voting
Should Twitter ban Donald Trump?
#TrumpsGottaGo
#DontBanThePrez

Twitter is owned and operated by a corporation and thus, does not need a reason to ban anyone from the platform. As soon as you register, your rights end where the Terms of Service begin. No one is entitled to free speech on Twitter.

But the microblogging platform seems to recognize the value in giving government officials a way to communicate with people, and does not wish to endanger that unless any official, including Trump, violates its hate-speech policy:

This week, the company told Slate it would consider banning key government officials, even the president, if its rules against hate speech or other language were violated. “The Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies,” a spokesperson wrote. Twitter confirmed with Quartz that everyone, including government officials, were subject to the policy: “The Twitter Rules apply to all accounts,” a spokesman wrote.
#TrumpsGottaGo

Several press outlets, including the Washington Post, have published editorials calling for Twitter to strip or restrict President-elect Trump's access to the service. But the Ringer's Kate Knibbs lays out perhaps the most meticulous case for banning Trump from Twitter, starting with the fact that it just can:

Even I do not think it would be wise for Twitter to start banning people for no reason, but it’s worth pointing out that it can. It’s a private, for-profit company. The First Amendment enshrines the right to freedom of speech by prohibiting the government from making laws suppressing expression; Twitter would not be infringing on Trump’s extremely healthy freedom to speak even if the rationale for banning him were nonsense. Arguments about how banning Trump from a private publishing platform violates the First Amendment only show that some people are unfamiliar with the Constitution. Again — the fact that Twitter can ban anyone for any reason that doesn’t break nondiscrimination laws doesn’t mean that it should. What it means is that Twitter is, for better or for worse, its own bouncer.

But the strongest evidence in favor of banning Trump is that some of his recent comments appear to violate Twitter's new abuse policies, according to a liberal interpretation of the rules:

And there are plenty of reasons Twitter could ban the president-elect. Melanie Ehrenkranz at Mic has argued that Trump could be banned for violating the company’s overhauled abuse policies, and I agree that the platform could determine that some of his tweets violate the revamped policy, both by direct harassment and by inciting hate speech. And more broadly, the president-elect has chosen Twitter to serve as a conduit for authoritarian political propaganda, particularly his insistence that the democratic process is untrustworthy.

This kind of blurs into the left's main case for banning Trump for Twitter—the President-elect is using Twitter as an amplifier for propaganda, something that can erode a healthy democracy:

While Twitter is not as popular as Facebook, and not as widely used as it is influential, it serves as an essential step in Trump’s propaganda propagation. “Trump still relies on other outlets to distribute the content of those tweets to his supporters. In this sense, Twitter is not that different from issuing a press release,” Select All’s Brian Feldman wrote recently.
#DontBanThePrez

Conservatives see this as nothing less than a conservative purge of social media platforms owned and operated by coastal elites. The reality is banning President-elect Trump and his supporters will only deepen the political divide in America and could lead to impermeable echo chambers with two, distinct realities where no one can reconcile fact from fiction. That's the real threat to political discourse.

When Mark Zuckerberg was faced with the same dilemma on Facebook, he erred on the side of transparency and letting American voters decide who they want to follow. And isn't that the best solution? Nobody is forced to follow Donald Trump. It's absolutely ridiculous to penalize conservatives because liberal, "free speech champions" are too thin-skinned for Trump's Twitter commentary.

Twitter’s position appears to differ from that of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who rejected calls from employees to ban Donald Trump from the platform following his comments about introducing a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to America.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Zuckerberg said that he believed Trump’s comments did constitute hate speech, but said the “implications of removing them were too drastic.”
#DontBanThePrez

Breitbart has also drawn a connection from what the outlet refers to as "an open war on conservative media" to Twitter's financial woes. Coincidence? Maybe... but maybe not.

As Twitter’s stock price plummets faster than Jeb Bush’s poll numbers, Twitter appears to be doubling down on its wrongheaded strategy. Users who have not been banned, suspended, or locked are now afraid of voicing their political views for fear of losing their accounts, followers, and friends on the social network.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Some of the cleverest, wittiest, and most engaging accounts on Twitter are those that poke fun at the progressive status quo. Without these insurgent new media stars, Twitter is sunk. Why doesn’t anyone at the company realize this?
#TrumpsGottaGo

Over 20,000 people have signed a petition encouraging Twitter to take action against Trump's account, citing a violation of company's user policy:

Shirley Burns, the author of the Care2 petition to rid Twitter of Trump, says that Trump “has crossed a line by attacking people on Twitter based on their race, religion, gender and more.”
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Burns cites Twitter’s rules. “You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease,” a clause concerning “hateful conduct” in the Twitter rulebook explains.
#DontBanThePrez

But if Twitter is going to hand over its decision to mob rule, the left has truly lost all moral high ground. Nobody was petitioning Twitter to ban Hillary Clinton's account. Banning Trump's account would be the height of hypocrisy for a social media service that once said it was dedicated to free speech:

In 2012, the general manager of Twitter in the UK spoke at the Guardian Changing Media Summit: “Generally, we remain neutral as to the content because our general council and CEO like to say that we are the free speech wing of the free speech party.”
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Boy, have things changed since then.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Earlier this month, Twitter suspended a number of accounts associated with the alt-right movement. Among those suspended was Richard Spencer, the National Policy Institute, Radix Journal, Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn and John Rivers. Some might argue that Twitter’s suspension of these accounts is content discrimination. In other words, Twitter is censoring users simply because of their views. That doesn't sound like “remaining neutral” or promoting free speech.
#TrumpsGottaGo

Plenty of people think Trump has crossed a line and should no longer have free rein on Twitter.

#DontBanThePrez

Meanwhile, conservatives see this as just another way for the left to suppress voices and worldviews they simply don't want to acknowledge.

FINAL RESULTS
Should Twitter ban Donald Trump?
A festive crown for the winner
#TrumpsGottaGo
#DontBanThePrez