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The American Civil Liberties Union, typically no friend of conservatives, has questioned Big Tech’s censorship of President Donald Trump and some of his supporters, pointing out that those policies could cause more harm to less well-known individuals.
The ACLU released a statement on Friday taking a shot at Trump before suggesting that minorities would end up being affected by Big Tech’s policies surrounding censorship.
“For months, President Trump has been using social media platforms to seed doubt about the results of the election and to undermine the will of voters. We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions – especially when political realities make those decisions easier. President Trump can turn to his press team or Fox News to communicate with the public, but others – like the many Black, Brown, and LGBTQ activists who have been censored by social media companies – will not have that luxury. It is our hope that these companies will apply their rules transparently to everyone,” the ACLU wrote.
The statement comes after Big Tech began its crackdown on Trump and his supporters. Twitter permanently banned Trump from its platform on Friday, claiming that Trump’s tweets about his supporters continuing to be heard and not attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration – neither of which included calls to violence of any kind – somehow violated Twitter’s guidelines on inciting or glorifying violence. Here’s what Twitter wrote about its banning of Trump:
On January 8, 2021, President Donald J. Trump tweeted:
“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
Shortly thereafter, the President tweeted:
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks. After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.
Facebook also banned Trump from posting during the remainder of his term in office, and Snapchat banned him as well. YouTube suspended Trump’s account, and Google took the next step of removing alternate social media website Parler from its store, with Apple threatening to do the same.