I’m no Trump supporter. It’s sad I even have to preface the following comment with that, but I think banning Trump like we’ve seen sets a very dangerous precedent. We continue to hand over control to big tech companies who have shown not to care about the public interest. Banning Trump and people who follow him is akin to ignoring they exist, not actually acknowledging we have a problem.





20 responses to “”

  1. pratik Avatar

    @mjdescy @fgtech @smithtimmytim Exactly. We need to codify such rules into law and not simply have them as unwritten rules. We now know that norms and decorum is not enough. You cannot change hearts and minds, you have to simply change the laws.

  2. mjdescy Avatar

    @pratik @fgtech @smithtimmytim Did you know that presidents aren’t allowed to drive—at least not on public roads. There are other rules they must put up with that are not a matter of consitutional law, but were put in place for other good reasons, such as security. Perhaps elected officials should not be allowed to operate a personal social media account while they are in office. That would not rule out having social media accounts for their campaign or office, or for creating any other kind of press releases or media appearances, but the elected officials wouldn’t be able to just tweet things out by themselves.

  3. pratik Avatar

    @fgtech @smithtimmytim @mjdescy One small fix would be to make it illegal for public officials to announce policy and any political decisions on Twitter/Facebook. If they must, it should link to a government website with full details. Let the President have a blog at whitehouse.gov and link posts on Twitter. No 280 chars BS. Title of the post and a link like we do on MB here for long form posts.

  4. fgtech Avatar

    @smithtimmytim Facebook and Twitter’s trend toward monopoly size is an important factor, as is the lack of government oversight. I would support prosecution for companies that fail to abide by the limits on First Amendment speech @mjdescy points out.

  5. smithtimmytim Avatar

    @mjdescy yes! You make some great points. And I definitely don’t have all the answers either. I’m hoping for the best.

  6. mjdescy Avatar

    @smithtimmytim I think, from a cultural and legal standpoint, we still don’t understand what social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are, which is why we don’t know how to deal with them or even to understand their impact on people, populations, and institutions. I don’t see it as a particular problem that they are privately held, because broadcasters, newspapers, and book publishers have historically been privately held (at least in the US), and what exactly is the alternative? Government run platforms? That won’t be popular in the US, where we can’t even agree that it makes sense for taxes to pay for universal healthcare, which every other industrial nation has done. Some kind of regulation is probably the only solution, but it will be a difficult solution to design and to administer.

    I suspect that you and I agree on most of this free speech and social networking stuff, but might disagree on some of the particulars. I care about these issues too, and certainly don’t have all the answers. 😀

  7. smithtimmytim Avatar

    @mjdescy there are some pretty important differences here. Manton doesn’t own a company that has a monopoly on the public discourse. Twitter didn’t ban him when he was trying to start a war with Iran. Obviously I think Trump is a horrible person, it just worries me the level of control we’re handing to private companies with very little transparency and no democratic control.

  8. smithtimmytim Avatar

    @fgtech If these companies weren’t monopolies, I’d agree. I just think there need to be more democracy and transparency.

  9. mjdescy Avatar

    @smithtimmytim @fgtech I think it is perfectly reasonable for a private company to ban speech from its platform that is against its community guidelines. If Trump decided to camp out on micro.blog and spew the same vitriol, I would fully support @manton banning him, too.

    Furthermore, incitements to violent revolt are not even the type of speech that is protected by the First Amendment—they are excluded, and even the Federal government can curtail them. Banning such speech is not about ignoring it, it is about lessening the amount of damage it can do by limiting its reach.

    What should happen is that some types of social networks—those with massive size, reach, and resources—should be regulated more like publishers or broadcasters—at least the ones that algorithmically determine how content (including ads) gets displayed or delivered to their users.

  10. fgtech Avatar

    @smithtimmytim What you write on their platform is up to them to distribute as they see fit. It has always been that way; historically, they have failed to exercise their right to moderate. I would say they abdicated their responsibility to society to prevent abuse in doing so.

  11. smithtimmytim Avatar

    @fgtech I’m hesitant to give editorial control to corporations that have essentially monopolized our public discourse.

  12. fgtech Avatar

    @smithtimmytim Twitter and Facebook helped create the conditions that lifted Trump to power. In that sense, I agree they have too much control. Refusing to promulgate his stream of lies is the most responsible thing they have done to date. Editorial judgement is sorely needed.

  13. Tim Smith Avatar

    I am too. It’s a clusterfuck.

  14. Justin Jackson Avatar

    I’m worried.

    If we get another demagogue as president, and they then also have control of the world’s most powerful social media platforms…

    Making Twitter a “Government controlled utility” seems awfully close to “authoritarian state-controlled media.”

  15. Tim Smith Avatar

    I hear you. I think this is why making sure we actually have democratic governments controlled by the people is important. Either way, control of our public discourse does not belong in the hands of Jack or Zuck. It belongs with us.

  16. Justin Jackson Avatar

    There’s a reverse danger here: if a totalitarian government were to also control the word’s most powerful communication platforms… is that not also a huge risk to democracy?

    (Agree there needs to be more regulation… but, what exactly?)

  17. Tim Smith Avatar

    I think the two avenues are either publicly controlled utilities or legislation that prevents monopolies. Also, let’s not forget that both FB and Twitter claim to be publishers or platforms when it suits them.

  18. Justin Jackson Avatar

    I think, by that logic, lots of internet products would have to become government controlled?

    (Google, Amazon, iOS, etc)

  19. Tim Smith Avatar

    My answer would be no to both. But we’re talking about companies who’ve monopolized the public discourse. If these tech companies have the power to silence the President, they should be democratically controlled.

  20. Justin Jackson Avatar


    If I’m a private book publisher in 1925, should I have to publish and distribute Mein Kampf?

    If I’m MailChimp, should I have to let David Duke use my platform?