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Twitter’s decision to ban President Trump’s account is already paying off

Published Jan 18th, 2021 10:02AM EST
President Trump Twitter
Image: Kevin Dietsch - Pool via CNP/MEGA
  • Twitter permanently banned President Trump’s Twitter account following the storming of the US Capitol on January 6.
  • Trump was also kicked off YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat.
  • Just one week after Trump’s Twitter account was removed, conversations about election fraud dropped by nearly 70%.

In the wake of the riot at the US capitol building on January 6, Twitter permanently banned President Donald Trump’s account. While the riot itself wasn’t the sole cause of Trump’s Twitter demise, subsequent tweets from the President ran afoul of Twitter’s safety guidelines.

“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 explained in a blog post.

The incitement of violence from Trump’s tweets, at the core, stems from the notion that the 2020 election was stolen and that Joe Biden only won the electoral vote due to widespread voter fraud. Although these claims lacked any shred of evidence, and even though Trump’s legal team lost every legal case on the matter, Trump’s tweets amplified conspiracy theories and mobilized his base to take matters into their own hands. In short, Trump’s seeming addiction to spreading misinformation is the overarching reason behind the shocking turn of events we saw earlier this month.

Nearly two weeks after Trump’s Twitter account was banned, we’re already starting to see a welcome shift in the amount of misinformation on the platform and other social networking sites. According to new research from the San Francisco-based Zignal Labs, “conversations about election fraud dropped from 2.5 million mentions to 688,000 mentions across several social media sites in the week after Trump was banned from Twitter.”

All told, Trump’s banishment from Twitter resulted in a nearly 70% decline in discussions about baseless election fraud across the board. That’s an undeniably significant figure which bolsters the argument that Trump was largely responsible for the proliferation of election misinformation and, in turn, a huge reason why so many people felt justified storming the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.

Twitter, of course, isn’t the only platform that kicked President Trump to the curb over the past two weeks. Facebook and Instagram quickly instituted a temporary ban on Trump’s account just one day after the riot.

Mark Zuckerberg issued the following statement on January 7:

Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.

We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.

Twitter and Facebook aside, Trump in recent days has also been booted from YouTube, Snapchat, Spotify, Twitch, TikTok, and Shopify.

Predictably, Trump didn’t take the news of his Twitter ban all that well. According to reports, Trump went “ballistic” upon finding out his account was removed.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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