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Here are all the *real* reasons Trump’s Twitter page got banned

Although there are many valid reasons as to why the former President of the United States deserved a ban from one of the world’s largest social media platforms, there are several that still stand out.  

This is not because of how egregious the offenses were. Rather, because of how long it took for the platform to consider the president’s movements and rhetoric as dangerous, not only to society and himself, but also to free-speech as we knew it.

The attacks on the American Capitol on January 6 marked a turning point in American history, as well as world history. Social media had a front row seat to civil unrest in ways never experienced before, and Twitter played an undeniable role in Trump’s rise to fame. 

After all that time, what was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back? The Twitter files make it abundantly clear how unavoidable it became.  Let’s take a closer look into what finally persuaded Twitter to ban former president Donald Trump.

Early fears

Reporter Matt Taibbi has released what he has called the Twitter files, detailing many of the decision-making that went into various practices at the company now owned by Elon Musk. Some of the details surrounding the ban of Trump play out in real time as the files show thousands of screenshots depicting a company at war with itself over fundamental ideals of right and wrong. 

In many cases, they created systems and tools that exacerbated those flaws. Taibbi tweeted several of the screenshots, making  it very clear that Trump did not get banned easily

“In Twitter docs, execs frequently refer to “bots,” e.g. “let’s put a bot on that.” A bot is just any automated heuristic moderation rule. It can be anything: every time a person in Brazil uses “green” and “blob” in the same sentence, action might be taken.” Taibbi explained. 

“On December 10th, as Trump was in the middle of firing off 25 tweets saying things like, “A coup is taking place in front of our eyes,” Twitter executives announced a new “L3 deamplification” tool,” Taibbi tweeted. “This step meant a warning label now could also come with deamplification.”

“The significance is that it shows that Twitter, in 2020 at least, was deploying a vast range of visible and invisible tools to rein in Trump’s engagement, long before J6. The ban will come after other avenues are exhausted.” Taibbi noted before shifting into what exactly went down hours before the storming.

Storming aftermath

The first company-wide email from Twitter employee Gadde on January 6th announced that 3 Trump tweets had been bounced or blocked, but more importantly signaled a determination to use legit “violations” as a guide for any possible permanent suspension, explains Taibbi.

As written in a screenshot from an email by Twitter higher-ups, several reasons to ban Trump became undeniable and inevitable. 

“Hi team, An update on actions we’re taking as a result of what’s happening in DC today. We have removed (bounced) 3 tweets from @realDonaldTrump on 6 January 2020 for making unfounded claims of voter fraud and election theft, which must be viewed in the context of violence in Washington DC today,” Twitter employee Viyaja lays out.

“This can reasonably be expected to continue to incite and inspire violent acts around the country.We are requiring a 12-hour timeout following the removal of these tweets.” Vijaya continued. “We also have tweeted so there’s transparency in our actions and making it clear that future violations of the Twitter Rules will result in permanent suspension.”

Taibbi believes this project was preposterous. “Yet its leaders were unable to see this, having become infected with groupthink, coming to believe – sincerely – that it was Twitter’s responsibility to control, as much as possible, what people could talk about, how often, and with whom.” he tweeted.

According to the reporter, “This is all necessary background to J6. Before the riots, the company was engaged in an inherently insane/impossible project, trying to create an ever-expanding, ostensibly rational set of rules to regulate every conceivable speech situation that might arise between humans.”

What do you think it will take for sitting heads of state to be banned from the platform now? Do you think Elon Musk will have the judgment necessary to make such decisions as the new owner of Twitter? Let us know in the comments! 

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