Author Archives: Ignacy Konarski

Will Trump’s precedent start a discussion about free speech?

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“We suspend accounts that violate Twitter rules.” – Such information appeared on Donald Trump’s official profile on a social networking site. This movement essentially deprives the president of his most powerful platform, through which he reached more than 88 million viewers.

Twitter thus joined Facebook and Instagram, who had previously reported that they had blocked the president’s accounts “for an indefinite time, at least for the next two weeks until the peaceful transfer of power. Mark Zuckerberg himself informed this. The head of Facebook called the recent events on the Capitol Hill “shocking”.

For years, Twitter has been an important tool in Trump’s policy. The president had tweeted several times a day during his presidency.

Blocking an account in almost all social media channels triggered comments on freedom of speech and the role of social media in society.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is critical of the blocking of US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin on Monday. “The right to free speech is a fundamental right. – he stressed.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also negatively assessed the decision to ban social networking, adding that it was a “bad sign” that private companies were allowed to censor opinions.

Activist Alexei Navalny found this censorship unacceptable. He also pointed out that countries like Russia will be very eager to cite Trump’s case to show that there is nothing strange about censorship since even the US president suffered it. The Russian pointed out that the reasoning behind restricting Trump’s access is almost the same as the one the Kremlin uses against Navalny. Navalny also wrote that Trump’s blocking is the result of emotions and political preferences of social network executives.

Taking down a private Twitter account of still acting president of the US is something unprecedented and worth paying attention to. Especially while considering that it was – so far – the main way of communication with the public.

No doubts that it will trigger further discussion about the relationship between Big Tech companies and the state. Government controlling Big Tech seems not to be a good solution. Neither Big Tech controlling government (and this is how the above case may be assessed). Solution to the problem must be a balance and hopefully, it will be worked out during legislative work.