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How Was Donald Trump Banned From Twitter? Elon Musk Relays The Underside Of The Case


Donald Trump

New revelations about the past manoeuvres of the social network have emerged, Elon Musk helped reveal the deliberations and the decisions that led Twitter to delete Donald Trump’s account while was still the president.

The latest revelations, published on December 10, stopped on January 6, 2021, the day of the assault on the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump, 48 hours before the no less fateful deletion of Donald Trump’s Twitter account. On December 12, the new boss of Twitter, Elon Musk shared shocking new information on the past practices of the social network, tweeted at length by American journalist Bari Weiss, founder of the media The Free Press.

“Under pressure from hundreds of activist employees, Twitter deplatforms Trump, a sitting US President, even though they themselves acknowledge that he didn’t violate the rules”, summed up the truculent billionaire, leaving the floor to the reporter. In a succession of 45 tweets, this one delivered the underside of an intensely political decision taken by the leaders of the social network.

“After January 6, pressure grew, both inside and outside of Twitter, to ban Trump,” reports the journalist, noting several “dissidents” opposed to such censorship. “Minority voices” nevertheless notes Weiss: “Perhaps because I am from China, I deeply understand how censorship can destroy public conversation,” wrote an employee on the company’s internal messaging system. “I understand this fear [but] being censored by the government is very different from being censored by the government,” replied a colleague.

No doubt for employees: Trump incited violence

Trump was elected in 2016 by bypassing the media and addressing his constituents directly via Twitter. Four years later, the employees organized themselves to ask their employer to banish the future ex-president, defeated by Joe Biden on November 3, 2020. “Is there any channel or group [on messaging] where we could organize more action?” asked one of them.

At the heart of the dispute the tweets of the President, accused of being an “incitement to violence” by his detractors within the firm. Trump had indeed tweeted to encourage his supporters to “go to the Capitol [the American Parliament]”, calling the elections a “fraud” and refusing to recognize his defeat.

January 6, 2021: Supporters of Donald Trump, wanting to block the certification of the Electoral College vote in favor of Joe Biden, force the entrances to the Capitol. 800 of them manage to get in. Four demonstrators and a policeman perished during the clashes. PA

January 6, 2021: Supporters of Donald Trump, wanting to block the certification of the Electoral College vote in favor of Joe Biden, force the entrances to the Capitol. 800 of them manage to get in. Four demonstrators and a policeman perished during the clashes. PA

The Republicans will not admit an “orderly transition” until January 7, the day after the battle for the Capitol, and after the vote of the electors interrupted by the assault, while declaring to be “in complete disagreement with the results of the election”.

Twitter accused of complicity in an insurrection.

On January 8 in the morning, the Washington Post published an open letter , signed by 300 Twitter employees and addressed to CEO Jack Dorsey, demanding the banishment of the 45th President of the United States. We must examine Twitter’s complicity in what President-Elect Biden has rightly termed insurrection.” the employees further accused.

The team in charge of evaluating Donald Trump’s tweets doubted, as Bari Weiss reported, the possibility of qualifying the offending tweets as incitement to violence. In particular, the message of Donald Trump indicated that he would not go to the nomination of Joe Biden. “People might say that’s proof he doesn’t support a peaceful transition,” an executive replied.

Bari Weiss points out here that Twitter policy did not lead the network in June 2018 to delete the Tweet or ban Ayatollah Khamenei for calling Israel an “malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated” Conversely, the network had deleted the October 2020 post of a former Malaysian prime minister writing that “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past”, without banning it. .

Leaders bow under pressure

But Twitter executives banned Trump, despite key staff members saying Trump didn’t incite violence, even in a ‘coded’ way,” Weiss then sums up, before telling how the atmosphere has quickly degenerated.

Multiple Tweeps [employees of Twitter] quoted the Banality of Evil [a book by philosopher Hannah Arendt on Nazism] suggesting that the people implementing our policies are like Nazis following orders“, observed Yoel Roth, director of the Trust and Security Council, supposed to ensure “the serenity” of the discussions on the platform, he seems worried and favourable.

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The decision to ban Trump was therefore taken on January 8, a measure justified by “the risk of further incitement to violence”. “Many of us at Twitter were ecstatic,” Weiss describes. And this one to conclude: “the fears in the face of Twitter’s efforts to censor information on Hunter Biden’s computer, to blacklist unfavourable views, and to banish a president, (…) relate to the power of a handful of people in a private enterprise to influence public discourse and democracy”.