The President lashed out at Twitter Friday night (Jan. 8) after the social media platform pulled the plug on his account fearing his tweets could incite more violence.
"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter said in a blog Friday (Jan. 8).
Without his favorite platform, the President had to weigh in via a statement issued from the White House. While in response to the storming of the Capitol the President had issued a video saying there needed to be a calm transition of power, in Friday's statement the President's combative tone returned to form, including his assertions that social media have been attacking him while hiding behind their Sec. 230 immunity from liability for content posted on their sites:
"As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me — and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me," he said. "Twitter may be a private company, but without the government's gift of Section 230 they would not exist for long.
"I predicted this would happen. We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future. We will not be SILENCED!"
If so, the President will likely need the Sec. 230 immunity he has been attacking since without it, his own platform could be civilly liable for its content.
"Twitter is not about FREE SPEECH. They are all about promoting a Radical Left platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely," the President said, adding: "STAY TUNED!"
The Computer & Communications Industry Association, whose members include Twitter and Facebook, came to the defense of the decision by social media platforms to suspend the President's accounts.
“Private companies taking action against bad actors that misuse their services to incite violence have a First Amendment right to do so – even when the bad actor engaged in misconduct is the President of the United States," said CCIA president Matt Schruers. “App stores, webhosts, and other intermediaries confronted with such misconduct are similarly protected by our established principles of free expression. The First Amendment does not protect the Government from members of the public; it protects members of the public from the Government.
“Congress wisely encouraged these actions to safeguard the trust and safety of users and the public at large through Section 230 in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which enables digital services to address dangerous or problematic content and behavior without risk that they will be sued for doing so.”
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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