I’m not one of the people who follows Donald Trump on Twitter — I get more than enough second hand Trump without mainlining him. I’m kind of appalled that he’s still allowed on Twitter, frankly, since he’s abusive and bullying and vile, but of course, that’s never been a reason to close a Twitter account. And now we have it straight from Twitter itself that they’re never going to ban him.
The actual statement is about Trump’s tweets being “newsworthy,” with Twitter claiming that letting him stay on the platform helps keep people “informed about what’s happening in the world.” This justification helps absolve Twitter of any responsibility for what Trump does, and it saves the company from having to take any specific stand against anything he might do or say. Also, the thread says that Twitter holds all accounts “to the same rules,” which is funny because it’s definitely not true.
That’s such a pile of bullshit. You could say exactly the same thing about Andrew Anglin, the racist who runs the Daily Stormer. Rising racism is “newsworthy”, and we should be “informed about what’s happening”. Your more mundane stalker/harasser, likewise…if he’s significant enough that you’re complaining, then he’s “newsworthy”, and hey, don’t you want to keep informed about what he’s doing?
Twitter has banned some people, at least temporarily. They slapped down Anglin, for instance. But it’s only when their behavior becomes embarrassing to the company. Apparently, two petty maniacal tyrants taunting each other into nuclear war, or the white nationalist leader of a country fomenting racial hatred in the populace, are not at all embarrassing. That’s good business. It won’t be their fault if a few million people get killed because they enabled a tantrum.
Here’s a reason to ban him anyway, though. You’ve heard of all the football fans burning their team jerseys and season tickets to protest football players who don’t exhibit sufficient worshipfulness to a flag? Imagine if Twitter banned Trump: millions of outraged Trumpkins would delete their accounts in protest; all those people with frog avatars and swastikas would vanish. It would become almost paradisial. The majority of users would be overjoyed, and be gushing over the improved quality of the communication. It would be the one simplest, easiest thing they could do to diminish their asshole problem. So it won’t happen.