Twitter block on Trump: Troubling censorship or wise moderation?

Many Republicans on Twitter protested President Donald Trump’s removal from Twitter as censorship of conservatives. Democrats took the decision as a long overdue removal of irresponsible lies and view points from the platform. (The Guardian, January 9, 2020, by Lauren Aratani)

Although Twitter is on solid First Amendment ground in suspending Trump’s account, some are concerned about the power that private companies wield in limiting speech. ACLU lawyer Kate Ruane, said, “President Trump can turn to his press team or Fox News to communicate with the public, but others — like the many Black, brown and L.G.B.T.Q. activists who have been censored by social media companies — will not have that luxury.” (The New York Times, January 9, 2020, by Adam Liptak)

Digital Studies professor, David Golumbia, The Boston Globe, January 9, 2020, argues that the social media companies have for too long allowed undemocratic ideas and intimidation to flourish on their platforms. Golumbia argues that free speech is limited in numerous ways. It is illegal, for instance, to use speech to to plot criminal actions and to defame others. “Yet technology companies, far-right agitators, and other groups,” writes Goumbia, “continually present the issue as black and white: They claim that either we protect speech absolutely (despite the fact that we don’t do this) or we don’t protect it at all.”

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