Mark Sumner / Daily Kos (01/09/2021)
On Friday evening, Twitter finally did what it should have done four years ago—if not sooner—by banning Donald Trump’s account permanently. Later in the evening, even the official White House account was temporarily suspended as Trump tried to use that account to do an end run around his removal. Then, of course, in an effort to show their loyalty, every insurrection-supporting Trumpist who had not already been kicked off the platform immediately posted something that would guarantee their departure. And they got their wish.
With Joe Biden less than two weeks from putting hand to Bible, both Twitter and Facebook seem to have realized that the gravy train of ads for Trump rallies, Trump flags, Trump coins, and Bibles in which all mentions of Jesus have been altered to Trump (I made that up. I think.), are finally coming to an end. Now that they can safely display some displeasure over the way in which their platforms have been used like digital crowbars to break America into warring factions without harming their bottom lines, they’ve suddenly determined that it’s okay to cut the mic on people shouting for violent overthrow of the government. Shame they couldn’t have done so when it might have actually saved the nation, but … revenue.
Meanwhile, Trumpists waving frantically to Great Leader that the racist, body-strewn waters of Parler are just fine, are finding that pissant substitute is getting even more … pissanty.
There’s more than a little pleasure to be had in pulling up the Twitter accounts of the vanished, just to see the little digital tombstones.
But even as Parler execs were Yacht-shopping over their anticipated windfall, they got a bit of bad news. As NBC News reports, Google has now pulled the Parler app from the Google app store, and as The New York Times reports, Apple isn’t far behind. Both tech giants have cited an issue with the fact that the conservative cesspool site doesn’t practice any sort of actual content moderation. In fact, that’s its whole raison d’etre. This means that Parler is not only filled with Trump support, it’s filled with racism, hate speech, death threats, and open plans to carry out violent assaults on the government. Again, for Parler fans, that’s the attraction.
Both Google and Apple have told Parler it has to clean up its act if they want to push an app for their devices, but if Parler does the kind of moderation that the tech giants are demanding, it won’t be Parler. Of course, dedicated miscreants can still find Parler through its web interface, and for the moment at least, that’s likely to be the result. The apps will get pulled, but Parler will go on … generating single-digit numbers of replies for it’s biggest “stars.”
On Friday night, Donald Trump suggested another solution. Very briefly. In a triplet of posts that appeared on the White House Twitter account less than one minute before that service pulled them down, Trump not only cried about his banning from the service, but said that he was looking into creating his own social media platform.
That platform would, of course, have the same problems as Parler. If Trump is unwilling to keep the speech there toned down enough to pass muster with Apple and Google’s just-below-Disney requirements for acceptable family fare, an app for Trumpter would soon find itself on the bench. So, like Parler, it would be restricted to those people willing to deal with a web-only interface. Even so, it would clearly be better for Trump to go this route than to join Parler.
Unlike Twitter or Facebook, Parler has a current base that could fit into a high school gym. And it’s technological innovations are nonexistent. Trump would be worth infinitely more to Parler, than Parler is to Trump. So he might as well start his own place … and take a direct cut of the revenue out of every single sucker who signs up.
Social media has behaved horribly over not just the last four years, but the last two decades. Both Facebook and Twitter have revenue streams solidly planted in helping to subvert American politics, sow division, and amplify racism. Getting rid of the accounts of Donald Trump and a few followers is something, but it’s not nearly enough.
And now, for your morning entertainment … Donald Trump’s greatest Twitter thread.
The first Twilight movie is crazy underrated
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) January 8, 2017
reminds me of my favorite Trump hangup pic.twitter.com/6CxwUngEJA
— Liam Donovan (@LPDonovan) January 8, 2017