Donald Trump has violated Twitter’s terms of service God knows how many times. He glorifies violence, makes unhinged threats, spreads disinformation (including bizarre and dangerous conspiracy theories), and generally acts like a raging asshole festooned with a magician’s array of aloe and Sriracha wet wipes.
On the other hand, Twitter is his lifeline. It’s how he gets around the “fake news” media (i.e., the media) to bring his caustic lies directly to “the people” (i.e., his rabid horde).
But in the wake of Joe Biden’s decisive victory, Trump may have to mind his manners or lose his carnival barker platform. Because — as with a lot of things — the presidency will no longer protect him.
If Trump were to leave office [AJP: he will], his Twitter account could be much more highly regulated, and he could even face suspension or removal, according to Twitter’s policies.
Well, if he acts the way he normally does, he’ll be off Twitter about 20 minutes after becoming a private citizen. I can live with that.
Trump’s Twitter account currently qualifies for all three tenets of publishing information in the public’s interest, and is a world leader, meaning that Twitter has repeatedly considered it in the public and global interest to keep Trump’s tweets up, even if flagged.
Once Trump is out of office, his account will certainly not be protected by Twitter’s world leader criteria, and will likely no longer be protected by the public interest criteria, should he continue to break the platform’s rules.
Should he continue to break the platform’s rules? Is there any serious question about it? Does anyone think that on January 21 he’s going to suddenly stop undermining our elections, spreading pernicious conspiracy theories, inciting unrest, and generally acting like a dyspeptic hyena with a painful yeast infection?
So maybe this should be a post about how we can fight to get Donald Trump deplatformed — on Twitter as well as on other social media outlets. But to me, this is a bit like watching members of evangelical snake-handling sects poking their asps. Eventually, it will just sort itself out naturally.
And then get ready for Donald Trump to bring his act somewhere else — where there will be even less of a check on his dangerous and Dadaistic pronouncements.
But, hey, at least we won’t have to worry about him starting a war with a single tweet.