Well, that was fast!
On Friday morning, I posted an article advising readers to bet on Twitter banning President Donald Trump before February 1, 2021. At that time, his profile had just been reinstated after a 12-hour suspension; less than an hour later, Twitter, along with every other major social media platform, banned Trump permanently.
It always felt unlikely that Donald Trump would survive the month.
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“That’s 23 days (at the time of posting this article) that he must resist the temptation to question the outcome of the election or encourage his supporters to do anything that could potentially be misconstrued as a call to violence,” I wrote.
“Now that Facebook has one-upped Twitter with their indefinite suspension, I suspect the pressure is on Twitter to find an excuse to dump Trump permanently.
“I cannot imagine that man staying quiet through Inauguration Day and another impeachment, which is why I’m strongly suggesting you bet “Yes” on Donald Trump being banned from Twitter before February 1.”
Except, he didn’t last long enough for Inauguration Day or a second impeachment filing to even come up!
- To start on a positive note; if you saw my article early enough and immediately placed my suggested, “Yes,” bet on Trump’s permanent ban at –150 moneyline odds, then you turned a profit in the blink of an eye.
- But as a pessimist, I can’t help but note that Friday’s coordinated censorship campaign by Big Tech represents the beginning of an era where the top social media giants wield more power than nation-states.
We already see it happening.
Thousands of accounts were deleted on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (among others) simultaneously, but Donald Trump and conservative influencers weren’t the only ones de-platformed.
Voices on the far left got taken out as well – demonstrating that the coordinated clampdown is about more than preventing the President and his minions from inciting violence or spreading “dangerous disinfo” about election integrity.
More on the rapidly escalating attack on free speech (whether social media platforms are obligated to allow controversial or conflicting opinions is another question) and how it may impact political betting later; first, let’s recap what occurred between President Trump and Big Tech since Friday.
Trump’s Final Tweets
I figured it would take a few more days for Trump to get banned than it did, as I incorrectly assumed that Twitter Rules used conventional interpretations of the English language. I could not predict the extent to which they’d twist words and phrases to justify kicking the President of the United States and anyone sharing his talking points off the platform.
On Friday morning, Twitter Support posted an explanation of why Donald Trump’s profile was permanently banned, only two tweets and a few hours after being unsuspended.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” reads the statement.
Adding: “In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”
Twitter goes on to explain that while their “public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly,” authority figures “are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things.”
Make your own determination as to whether Donald Trump’s final tweets warranted such a response.
“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
Here’s why Twitter says it broke their rules:
- Using the words “American Patriots” to describe his followers is being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol.
- Saying that his supporters will have a “GIANT VOICE long into the future” and that they “will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form,” is interpreted as a signal that “President Trump does not plan to facilitate an ‘orderly transition’ and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election.”
- Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.
So, “American Patriots” is coded “support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol” now.
After all, Trump’s calling the 75,000,000 million people who voted for him “great American Patriots.” If the people who committed violent acts on Capitol Hill were Donald Trump supporters, and everyone who voted for the incumbent is an “American Patriot,” then the term “American Patriot” must be synonymous with “support for those committing violent acts.”
I thought “a GIANT VOICE long into the future,” reads like a promise to be a political force within the Republican Party for a long time. And promising his supporters won’t be “disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form,” I took as a threat to primary and remove GOP members who didn’t support his attempt to contest the election.
Maybe I’m giving him too much credit; perhaps Twitter understands conservative code words on a deeper level than I comprehend.
“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
The second “offensive tweet” seems especially harmless and straightforward. I would expect a world leader to be allowed to publicly RSVP “Not Attending” without violating any rules.
Nevertheless, this is what Twitter saw:
- President Trump’s statement that he will not be attending the Inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets (1, 2) by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, that there would be an “orderly transition” on January 20th.
- The second Tweet may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a “safe” target, as he will not be attending.
By merely mentioning that he won’t attend Joe Biden’s Inauguration, Trump is supposedly indicating that the “election was not legitimate” and “disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, that there would be an ‘orderly transition’ on January 20th.”
That last part is how they justify flagging the post for breaking the “Glorification of Violence policy, which aims to prevent the glorification of violence that could inspire others to replicate violent acts.”
Again, I struggle to believe Trump’s final two tweets had much to do with the ban. An agreement between all of Silicon Valley’s power-players was made in the 24 hours before the President’s Twitter account was reinstated – they all dropped him from their respective platforms at the same time!
Knowing Trump and his supporters would jump to Parler, the Apple Store and Google Play dropped the app from their services so people couldn’t download it. Amazon Web Services banned Parler from being hosted on their servers next. Then, payment processors shut down their access to money, and their lawyers dropped the app as clients.
The coordination all-but-ensures the conservative-leaning replacement for Twitter can’t do business; at every level, they’ve been locked out of the system. If Parler ever gets back up and running, it won’t be until after Biden’s in office. The app being erased, helped Twitter prevent Trump from jumping platforms and taking his supporters with him. He’ll get an account set up somewhere else eventually, but the moment is lost.
No matter what Donald Trump tweeted on Friday, his profile was getting banned.
Wednesday’s events were the catalyst Big Tech needed to justify asserting more control over public speech (and society-at-large). They cite “inciting violence” as the reason, but time will show that it had more to do with clamping down on dissenters and silencing anyone challenging mainstream narratives.
Trump’s Twitter Ban and Political Betting
History will look back on the 2020 presidential election as the year Big Tech solidified its position as the most influential force in US politics.
From now on, we must account for their power.
That doesn’t mean Democrats will win every election at every level of government. However, candidates who promise to reform Section 230, support anti-trust actions against Silicon Valley giants, or pose a general threat to capital in any way, are doomed.
My guess is that Big Tech will use its influence to keep both parties close to the center. They’ll help moderates take the GOP back and continue to assist centrist Democrats against progressive challengers. Then, we’ll have two corporatist, tech-friendly candidates from which to choose each election cycle.
Whoever offers Silicon Valley billionaires the best deal wins!