Platforms are rapidly removing Donald Trump’s account or accounts affiliated with pro-Trump groups and conspiracies, like QAnon and #StoptheSteal.
The biggest names in tech have taken aggressive steps against President Trump after a violent mob of his supporters culminated last week and stormed the U.S. Capitol while Congress was attempting to certify the election of Joe Biden as the nation’s 46th president. The platforms have been met with cries of censorship from Trump’s allies and reluctant applause from others who see the efforts as long overdue (Washington Post).
Here is the list of platforms that have banned or restricted Trump so far, according to Axios:
REDDIT: Reddit has banned the subreddit group “r/DonaldTrump,” a spokesperson confirmed to Axios on Friday.
TWITTER: Twitter announced Friday the platform will permanently ban President Trump’s account effective immediately.
TWITCH: Twitch disabled Trump’s channel, citing the move as a “necessary step” to protect its community and “prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence.”
SHOPIFY: Shopify took down two online stores affiliated with Trump — his organization and his campaign’s merchandise sites — for violating its policies on supporting violence.
GOOGLE: Google has pulled Parler, a social media app that they deem for “conservatives and far-right extremists”. Google’s move immediately suspends Parler, going further than Apple’s earlier decision to remove the app unless it submits a content moderation plan.
YOUTUBE: YouTube is accelerating its enforcement of election misinformation and voter fraud claims against Trump and other channels.
FACEBOOK: Facebook banned Donald Trump from posting on his Facebook accounts for at least the next two weeks until the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden is complete.
INSTAGRAM: Instagram banned Donald Trump from posting on his Facebook accounts for at least the next two weeks until the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden is complete
SNAPCHAT: Snapchat disabled Trump’s Snapchat account Wednesday because it believes the account “promotes and spreads hate and incites violence”, a spokesperson said.
TIKTOK: TikTok is removing content violations and redirecting hashtags like #stormthecapitol and #patriotparty to its community guidelines.
APPLE: Apple suspended Parler from its App Store Friday after threatening to remove right-wing-friendly social media app Parler from its App Store if Parler doesn’t lay out a plan to moderate its content.
DISCORD: Discord says it has banned server The Donald, per journalist Casey Newton. The Discord account was connected to the pro-Trump social network TheDonald.Win.
PINTEREST: Pinterest has been limiting hashtags related to pro-Trump topics such as #StopTheSteal since around the November election, a spokesperson said.
AMAZON: Amazon’s AWS cloud unit has ceased providing Parler with cloud services.
STRIPE: Stripe will no longer process payments for President Trump’s campaign, which continued to fundraise. Stripe handles payments and transactions for many online websites.
OKTA: Okta on Sunday said it terminated Parler’s access to a free trial of its product. Okta provides companies with software to help them manage user authentication services.
TWILIO: Twlio said Sunday that it suspended Parler indefinitely. Twilio is an enterprise communications company.
Parler has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, seeking a temporary restraining order to keep Amazon Web Services from blacklisting Parler. In its court filing, Parler said it needs a temporary restraining order to prevent irreparable harm, citing free speech rights and damage to the company’s reputation and competitive standing. The social media site claims that Amazon Web Services is violating the Sherman Antitrust Act in the filing. They also noted that Amazon Web Services recently signed a long-term deal with Twitter, helping one of Parler’s competitors deliver millions of tweets. While a nonpartisan company, Parler has become a refuge for Trump supporters and others who have been either kicked off Facebook and Twitter or have those social networks in protest (MSN).
When Twitter permanently banned President Trump, “conservative users began to flee Twitter en masse for Parler,” the company said. “The exodus was so large that the next day… Parler became the number one free app downloaded from Apple’s App Store.” But on Saturday, Apple announced it was suspending Parler from its App Store, preventing users from downloading the app to their devices. One day earlier, Google removed the Parler app from its Play Store. On the same day Apple moved against Parler, Amazon said the conservative platform will need to find a new host.
Matze feels that critics of Parler have no idea that the company previously had a points-based system to weed out bad actors. The system penalized things such as calls for violence with “points” and accounts were automatically deleted once they accumulated a certain number. “We don’t have a suspension period or anything like that, you just get deleted,” Matze said. “They will get banned if they’re breaking the rules. It seems most people who are critical of Parler … know very little to nothing about what we stand for” (NPR).
“We’re going to be doing things a bit differently. The platform will be free speech first, and we will abide by and we will be promoting free speech, but we will be taking more algorithmic approaches to content but doing it to respect people’s privacy, too. We want people to have privacy and free speech, so we don’t want to track people. We don’t want to use their history and things of that nature to predict possible violations, but we will be having algorithms look at all the content … to try and predict whether it’s a terms-of-service violation so we can adjust quicker and the most egregious things can get taken down,” Matze said. “So calls for violence, incitements, things of that nature, can be taken down immediately.”
Matze said some of the changes were already in place by Sunday evening, adding Parler made Amazon aware that steps were taken to create a safer platform but it didn’t matter to the tech giant. “We even offered to Amazon to have our engineers immediately use Amazon services – Amazon Rekognition and other tools – to find that content and get rid of it quickly and Amazon said, ‘That’s not enough,’ so apparently they don’t believe their own tools can be good enough to meet their own standards,” he said (FOX).
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CAMPAIGN ASIA