TWITTER’s decision to suspend Donald Trump’s account could lead to tougher regulation of social media companies, ministers have suggested.
Facebook and Instagram also blocked the outgoing US President’s accounts from their sites in the aftermath of last week’s storming of the US Capitol by his supporters.Twitter, Facebook and Instagram blocked Donald Trump’s accounts[/caption]
Matt Hancock said yesterday the move showed they were now taking editorial decisions like newspapers and broadcasters and should be treated in the same way by regulators such as Ofcom.
The Cabinet minister oversaw plans to overhaul governance of social media platforms in his former role as Culture Secretary.
He told Sky News yesterday that the move “raises a very important question” about social media companies “taking editorial decisions”.
He said: “I think it raises a very important question, which it means that the social media platforms are taking editorial decisions.
“And that is a very big question because then it raises questions about their editorial judgments and the way that they’re regulated.
“It is obviously one for the Culture Secretary – but as a former culture secretary I can tell you that I think it does lead to very interesting questions about the role of social media and the role of the social media companies in the decisions, in the editorial decisions that they take.”
Speaking later to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Hancock said: “The scenes, clearly encouraged by President Trump – the scenes at the Capitol – were terrible – and I was very sad to see that because American democracy is such a proud thing.
“But there’s something else that has changed, which is that social media platforms are making editorial decisions now.
“That’s clear because they’re choosing who should and shouldn’t have a voice on their platform.
“Now I think we should just be straightforward about that. Now that has consequences and they’re very much – as you say – for the Culture Department and not for me.”
In a rapid succession of tweets and bans, the social media platform suspended Trump‘s personal @realDonaldTrump account on Friday evening in light of Wednesday’s Capitol riot, and quickly deleted his tweets in response using @POTUS.
The Trump campaign account then tweeted the same content tweeted by Trump, prompting Twitter to then suspend that account as well, as Twitter’s rules do not allow for a person who has been banned to circumvent a ban through another account.
In the now-deleted @POTUS tweets, Trump claimed that “Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me” and the “75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me.”
Trump said he predicted that Twitter would try to silence him and that the company would not exist for long if it were not for Section 230, which protects websites from lawsuits if users post illegal content.
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Twitter Safety wrote in a statement that “in the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”
The social media network explained that its public interest framework is designed to allow the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly and is built on the principle that “people have a right to hold power to account in the open.”
Twitter Safety said that such accounts are not above its rules and that leaders “cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things.”Matt Hancock said the move showed they were now taking editorial decisions[/caption]