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Social media expert comments on suspension of Donald Trump's Twitter account

With Twitter announcing the suspension of Donald Trump's account and comments today from CEO Jack Dorsey discussing the decision, Dr Eric Jensen from the Department of Sociology comments:

“The decisions by social media companies to ban President Trump clearly do not represent their preferred option. Such censorship is not in their short-term economic interest, given the extensive online traffic generated by Trump’s social media posts. However, the moves are justifiable in my view, given that Trump has repeatedly and egregiously violated the conditions of use for these platforms. Trump’s violations have not been innocent, given the pressure that they have placed democratic institutions under before and after the US general election. The ground rules that these social media companies set for speech on their platforms are perfectly reasonable, and it is more than fair for them to enforce those rules on the users that voluntarily agree to the terms.

“Twitter's argument, for example, is that it is in the long-term interest of everyone for speech to be free of harassment, incitement to violence and other anti-democratic content. They are correct that a completely uncontrolled space is not conducive to inclusion and civil debate. It may be counter-intuitive, but reasonable rules governing conduct online are clearly beneficial to maintaining a healthy, free and inclusive public sphere. For this reason, the steps by Twitter and Facebook to more aggressively enforce their longstanding rules about the boundaries set on speech using their platforms should be welcomed for their positive implications for politics. An ‘anything goes’ approach only serves to empower the bullies and extremists, who drown out the important conversations about the issues of the day that are so needed.”

14 January 2021

Contact:

Peter Thorley
Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics)

Email: peter.thorley@warwick.ac.uk

Mob: +44 (0) 7824 540863