Is there a new Trump created controversy brewing?

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Screen Capture: Donald J. Trump's Twitter Account. Image Credit: Twitter and Donald J. Trump.



President Donald J. Trump recently took to Twitter to berate social media companies for their treatment of conservatives on their internet platforms. In a tweet tweeted to his Twitter account at 18:23 (6:23 pm) on Friday, 3 May 2019, the president expressed concern for Facebook’s attitude towards “The wonderful Diamond and Silk” because he feels the duo has been “treated so horribly by” the social media platform.

From the way the president frames his tweet, Diamond and Silk are not the only conservatives feeling hard done by. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook do not support the circulation of so-called “fake news” and or hatred. This applies to liberals every bit as much as it does with conservatives.

First Amendment Rights

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment to the Constitution of these United States, like the other first nine amendments, is part of the Bill of Rights. All ten amendments in the Bill of Rights clearly prohibit the government from infringing upon the rights of the people. There are no parenthetical clauses which apply to companies such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media companies because these entities are not governmental agencies.

Conservatives can talk up a storm about free speech as much as they want, it will not change the fact social media companies have a right to determine what is or is not acceptable behaviour for using their platforms. After all, we are not talking about governmental institutions. These social media companies, global in scope, are responsible to their shareholders not the United States government or the vast majority of the American people.

Tweets, Retweets and Hypocrisy

Do the rules only apply to liberals? From the way in which conservatives frequently react, it suggests they believe such rules do not apply to them. Rules apply to everyone equally, or at least, they should. Conservatively minded people find outrage everywhere they look. It seems, from their perspective, the treatment is unfair. Conservatives express outrage when one of their own is court breaking the rules but do not apply the same standard to liberals.

The hypocritical stance Trump and other conservatively minded individuals take towards social media usage is apparent. The Right Reverend Talbert W. Swan II, for instance. Swan, a prelate of the Church of God in Christ, saw his Twitter account permanently suspended as a result of hateful content. Trump’s retweet of Mindy Robinson’s tweet is evidence of such hypocrisy.

Because of public pressure, the reverends Twitter account was reinstated. If Swan had been conservatively minded, in the same way as actor James Woods, Trump would not have had an issue with Twitter reinstating the account. It’s apparently acceptable for conservatives to break rules but when it comes it liberals pretty much doing the same thing, that’s a no-no.

The news media prefer to use Twitter for constructive purposes. In contrast, Trump takes to Twitter to throw his now infamous Twitter-tantrums.

Twitter-Tantrums

Twitter is Trump’s go-to-social media platform of choice. Like many conservatives, Trump seemingly does not follow rules. Trump’s frequent Twitter-tantrums, sometimes hilarious, are offensive to numerous people.

Trump uses his Twitter account to berate anyone that does not do his bidding. One could make an argument that his Twitter tactics are nothing more than schoolyard bullying run amuck. If anyone should have their account permanently suspended, it is Trump.

If the president is not going to pay his taxes, it is hardly likely he will adhere to the rules Twitter lists in the company’s Terms of Service policy.

Twitter

The chief purpose for Terms of Service policies is to satisfy legal requirements. These policies exist to protect all users. There is no consideration for political leanings. Twitter does not favour liberals over conservatives. The social media company favours a safe environment over hostility. Targeted harassment and discrimination is unacceptable behaviour.

Why does Trump still have an active Twitter account? The specifics of Twitter’s policies indicates the president of these United States should no longer have access to his Twitter account.

In Nov. 2017, Trump saw his account temporarily deactivated but that was apparently done by a rogue Twitter employee. The individual did this on their last day of employment with the company. The following year, on Monday, 22 Oct. 2018, far-right wing conservative and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones found himself permanently banned from Twitter. As a result of frequent Twitter Rule violations and warnings pertaining, all accounts associated with Jones and InfoWars were permanently suspended.

Jones was not the only conservative talk radio host to see his account impacted by Twitter Rule violations. On Sunday, 25 Nov. 2018, former Republican congressional candidate Jesse Kelly saw his account permanently. Interestingly, the permanency of this permanent ban was not lasting because Twitter lifted the suspension two days later.

If you cannot follow a simple set of rules set forth by a social media company, you should reconsider using it. Even though Trump does not seem to have much of a Facebook presence, many people rely on it.

Facebook

Facebook, not without controversy, has faced issues revolving around to but not limited to the Cambridge Analytics Scandal, privacy, the so-called shadow profiles and more recently a breach which saw the exposure of data for tens of millions Facebook users. Does the president have a justifiable concern?

Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are essential tools because of how wide-ranging their reach has become. People from all walks of life use these platforms to connect with individuals around the world.

Facebook, as a publicly listed company, has existed since Wednesday, 4 Feb. 2004. Like various other social media platforms, no one is forcing individuals to use Facebook.

Like Twitter, Facebook has a set of rules users are required to follow. If users are found to have been “using a fake name, posting comments to walls in rapid succession, rapidly sending out friend requests and posting potentially offensive material, one could easily see an account banned. This is not the limit to the reasons for which one could find themselves banned from the platform. This is only the tip of a very large iceberg.

Final Thoughts

Feigning outrage is a conservative trait. Conservatives point fingers at liberals for doing things they themselves do with impunity. It is deplorable of them to believe they can follow one set of rules while simultaneously expecting higher standards of liberals. The same standards should apply to everyone equally.