All it took was a coup attempt…

Well he’s finally gone from social media:

It’s frustrating that all it took was a coup attempt from his followers, initiated by him. The fact that Donald Trump will no longer be allowed to stir up division and hatred online is a good thing regardless. Unfortunately the right wing news echo chamber still exists. I suspect a few of them will still go to him for quotes or some perspective bit. At least until another demagogue comes along.

Facebook and Twitter’s come to light moment is a little self serving at the moment though. How many times has the president’s rhetoric violated community standards and yet posts were permitted to stay? No repercussions at all. Only in the last few months of 2020, did Twitter finally put disclaimers on his tweets, showing them to be fraudulent.

I don’t want to be so bold as to say that social media companies are to blame for the attempted coup this week in the US Capitol Building. However, their hands aren’t completely clean. For years we have been asking them to enforce their own standards and guidelines. To reprimand those with power from instigating something like what happened this week. This didn’t happen in a vacuum. It happened in an echo chamber. An echo chamber that Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg had a hand in creating.

Claiming that free speech is paramount and that they are only helping to foster debate, is no longer a viable excuse. Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms are businesses. Private entities. They have rules and guidelines we are all agreeing to abide by to use their platforms. In a democracy, elected office doesn’t make you above the rest of us. Elected officials are servants of the people. There is a reason that the motto of the United States is E Pluribus Unum. From many, one.

Social media has been a fantastic invention of the 21st century. It has brought together peoples from all walks of life to a better understanding of each other. It has been an invaluable educating tool and window into cultures and perspectives we would not normally be exposed to. However, it has also been abused. Badly. As we can see from this past week. Wilful manipulators and con-artists spread their lies and misinformation to susceptible victims.

It is clear, leaving this for people to sort out amongst themselves is a losing proposition. Jack and Mark need to step up and take charge of the discourse happening on the platforms they created. If they are not willing to, then legislative powers need to be considered. The fate of our democracy is at stake.

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