Deepcut Gems Issue 3: Why now, Twitter? And what about the Big Problem ™ ?
Are we about to go from one frying pan to another?
President Donald Trump, with less than two weeks left in office, has been suspended from his Twitter account, arguably his most widely used and viewed mode of communication.
We all grew used to Trump’s chaos-addled stream of consciousness on Twitter; his direct callouts, his sometimes clever name-calling and his brash complaining which can dovetail into call for violence.
However, with Trump permanently (?) off his favorite website, we’re forced to reckon with the question: what does this do? Why now? (Twitter has not banned Trump for inciting or “glorifying” violence in the past.)
Twitter aside, it’s been widely reported that Trump’s most violent base mobilizes through websites like Gab, Parler, MeWe and more. Claiming to be bastions of unfettered speech or alt-right Twitters, Gab (which is strangely headquartered in my hometown of Clarks Summit, Pa) was directly linked to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pa.
People far smarter than me have provided some analysis on the Twitter situation and what that means in the larger context of Big Internet and Power. (worth noting is that arguments that Twitter is violating the 1st Amendment with this action are false. Twitter is a private company and not a state actor.)
Axios, Twitter bans Trump
The New York Times, Twitter Permanently Bans Trump, Capping Online Revolt
NPR’s All Things Considered, Twitter Permanently Suspends Trump, Citing 'Risk Of Further Incitement Of Violence'
In some ways, that doesn’t mean as much to me as the Gab and Parler Problem ™ . How will sites like these, sites that have been directly linked to despicable domestic violence and white supremacy, accommodate? Will these sites, which to the masses, exist mostly in the shadows, grow exorbitantly? There’s already evidence of a migration of top conservatives to these sites, but will it attract the same volume?
I’d love to hear what you think.