Twitter and Banning: A Necessary Action?


Jozlyn Jorgenson, Assistant Editor

Though it may not seem like it, the banning of people on social media sites is more than just a black and white situation. This is because it involves constitutional rights, the rights of the company, and the safety of the people.

Some social media sites will ban people because of public safety concerns. If there is a very influential person sharing wrong or even harmful information and ideas, it would not be in the public’s best interest to allow that person to continue teaching those things. In fact, one could say it is good to de-platform someone like that. 

On the other hand, private companies determining what information people have access to could easily allow them to promote lies instead of truth. That is also something that is not good for the public and should not be allowed.

As of Jan 8, 2021, Twitter has banned Donald Trump, the former President, from it’s platform. In an official statement, Twitter said that they did so because of the way his tweets were worded and received  “[Because of] 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 cites a few reasons for why they banned Trump. One is that he claimed the election was fraudulent. Twitter says this is evident when Trump claimed he would not attend the inauguration, and when he tweeted “States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus [the] corrupt process never received legislative approval.” 

Trump has spoken along these lines multiple times, claiming the election results were tampered with, and really supposed to show he won. So far, there has not been evidence for such a claim, making it false information.

Trump also said that “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election…I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted.” This, Twitter says, can be, and even has been, seen as not only a discounting of the election but also a call to action. This combination could easily cause violence to ensue, from those who believe his statements.

Even if the tweet had not been meant as such, that is how people have received it. It is the effect that matters more than the intent. The effect was that people began to believe the election was rigged, that the system is corrupt, and that there is a fight to bring back order and truth. This culminated into the violent protests that occurred on Jan 6, where Trump also incited violence and made untruthful claims.

Trump, being an influential person, used social media in a way that promoted violence and the spread of false information. He harmed people, even if indirectly, and that is unacceptable. Twitter made a choice it believes is in the best interest of the public, and this choice has a real effect on the public, in a good way.

By de-platforming Trump, he has also been de-legitimized, making his words less important to the general public. This has a positive effect. He has made many bad choices, and as such should not be allowed to hold authority simply because he was once a president. With Trump’s lies and call to violence, the public can heal, de-radicalize, and hear the truth.

This is why banning/de-platforming people on social media can be a good and necessary action, and why Twitter made the right decision.