Twitch lowers a (temporary?) banhammer on Donald Trump

And just as he was going to stream League of Legends this weekend, too

    
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Twitch lowers a (temporary?) banhammer on Donald Trump

Following the shameful events of this past week in Washington D.C. during which an outgoing U.S. president urged supporters to storm the Capitol, many social media sites have moved to block Donald Trump from using their platforms, however temporarily. Both Twitter and Facebook have suspended his accounts, at least for the time being, and now we have another more in our purview that has joined this movement: Twitch.

The games streaming platform suspended Trump’s account indefinitely, saying, “In light of yesterday’s shocking attack on the Capitol, we have disabled President Trump’s Twitch channel. Given the current extraordinary circumstances and the President’s incendiary rhetoric, we believe this is a necessary step to protect our community and prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence. We are focused on minimizing harm leading up to the transition of government and will reassess his account after he leaves office.”

This is in line with the company’s current policy against being used as a platform for hatred and violence. Late in 2020, Twitch made some specific policy changes to reduce the number of attacks and abuse between streamers and the community. These changes including banning the Confederate flag and certain emotes.

According to Gamasutra, this isn’t even the first time he’s been suspended; Twitch blocked his account this past summer for hateful conduct. “We do not make exceptions for political or newsworthy content, and will take action on content reported to us that violates our rules,” the company said at the time.

Source: Gamasutra

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IronSalamander8 .

It’s about time. I don’t care if someone is the president of the US or some other government figure, he’s been breaking their own rules for years and should’ve been banned long ago.

Ever since the armed insurrection last week, it’s been nice not hearing him or his rambling tweets on the news every day.

I was going to post a cartoon about freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences but it has profanity in it so can’t link it here.

Celestia
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Celestia

You want controversy? Here: None of this would have happened if mmo studios had stuck with the subscription model.

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Hirku Two

LOL, I needed that. You’re awesome.

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Bruno Brito

I need people discussing this heatedly.

I NEEEEEED IIIIIIT

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

I can’t say anything nice right now because I’m in excruciating pain. Making a place-holder to maybe come back when I don’t feel like ripping people’s head’s off…

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Roger Melly

It is pretty clear social media is completely out of control now , to the point its actually a threat to our democracies from the far right and on the opposite end of the spectrum its used to by the far left to “cancel” anyone famous that voices an opposing viewpoint ( very much like the McCarthy era witchhunts ).

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see legislation in many countries to hold social media companies far more responsible for what happens on their platforms than they are now.

Personally I would like to see a law put in place that makes large social media outlets charge a nominal fee ( which could be refundable ) .Payable by credit or debit card or any payment method that requires you to submit your name and address to the company. I would also be open to the idea that you can only make posts under your real name.

I am all for freedom of speech but it should not be anonymous anymore and those who abuse social media should be a lot more accountable for what they write .

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Arktouros

I dunno, I guess, sure whatever. Way to go, Twitch.

The “They’re private companies they can do whatever they want on their products!” or “Freedom of Speech is only with the Government!” crowd below I think is being a bit obtuse about the matter.

Like, obviously, these are private companies who are managing private products and they have the right to do whatever they want within the confines of the laws of our society. However what should also be obvious is the tremendous power and influence these companies wield due to the nature of their products. It’s all well and good to talk about private companies and their products but said products are wrapped up into the core of our social nature today. Not acknowledging that fact is simply negligent when discussing people being removed from them.

While it’s perfectly understandable we revel in the downfall of someone we dislike we really should be paying attention when these companies choose to exercise their power. It’s not an unreasonable stance to be concerned or cautious when you see said power being used even if it’s being used on someone terrible and rotten.

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imayb1

It’s not an unreasonable stance to be concerned or cautious when you see said power being used even if it’s being used on someone terrible and rotten.

I agree with you there. I was reading that law enforcement is using facial recognition software to identify the domestic terrorists– even if they wore masks– with over 96% accuracy. I believe anyone who took part in domestic terrorism should be held accountable, but frankly, I find this method very troubling. The legalities of facial recognition software are very unclear at this time.

However, in the case of social media companies banning rule-breakers… The rules of good “internet citizenship” are clear (and similar) for each platform and users in general agree to follow them. In this case, social media companies had been making hundreds of exceptions to his constant rule-breaking because of his supposed importance to the public. Since his recent actions crossed a line and he’ll be a regular citizen in less than two weeks, it was past time to TOS him.

Really, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has been censoring radio and then TV since 1934. Hollywood had censorship panels for movies before they moved to G/PG/R type ratings. Even music is labeled with content warnings. Why are people so outraged when popular public entities on the internet attempt to police themselves a little? I’m not saying censorship is great; just pointing out how very common it is.

Now, if recent events impact Code 230 of the Communications Decency Act, then we’ll have a lot more to debate.

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Schmidt.Capela

Which is why the EU is proposing regulation of the leading social media platforms that don’t just tackles misinformation, hate speech, violence incitement, etc, but also (though less reported) protects people from being unfairly banned if they didn’t violate the TOS of those services. Among other things the social media platforms would be forced to clearly and fully explain to users why and how they were punished, as well as provide actually functioning venues to appeal any such administrative decision.

(It would be interesting if this was extended to MMOs and their bans…)

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Utakata

The “They’re private companies they can do whatever they want on their products!” or “Freedom of Speech is only with the Government!” crowd below I think is being a bit obtuse about the matter.

…the obtuseness only exists when one exagerates the claims made by those straw…I mean hypothetical crowds you just made up. Private interests are still beholden to government, so they can’t just do whatever they want, outside of someone’s Randian wet dream. As well as government aren’t the only ones that can do censorship…it’s just they way legislation works mostly across the free world for whatever reasons, that private interests are not under the same scrutiny as government has for Freedom of Speech.

This is why we don’t see our friend Blitzchung (or anyone for that matter) t making a constitutional challenge over Blizz banhammering him from those Esport type thingies over something he said out of turn. Although interestingly enough, this we was likely a free speech matter as Blizz appeared to be doing this by proxy of the Chinese government.

So based on that alone though, I’ll agree with you that is this is much more complicated than your hypothetical crowds are claiming. o.O

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Arktouros

Oh boy look who’s using logical fallacies incorrectly. Again. You can easily scroll down and see any number of individuals, including your self, (5+ last I counted) discussing the concept of private businesses and, as you put it, “their rights.” Those discussions below are not hypothetical. Those people were very much discussing the topic and all very much glossing over the impact social media has on our society and what forceful removal from it means.

When you say things like “constitutional challenge” I honestly don’t even know which constitution you’re talking about given the international considerations in the Blitzchung scenario. However again that scenario was not as much an issue of “a proxy of the Chinese government” as much as a company didn’t want their tournaments to be used as a platform for political messaging. Like could you even imagine some Trump supporter at the end of the tournament going up and spewing out all sorts of misinformation and lies? Ya’ll would lose your minds and Blizzard would get endless shit for it. Far better to clamp down on everything in that scenario and prevent anyone, even if it’s causes we might be for.

Again I don’t have solutions nor am I proposing a course of action, it’s just a bit more in depth than what rights companies have.

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Utakata

And oh boy, look whose arguing dishonestly…

…so with that, I’m not going to debate this with you further. As there is no point in taking this further. But hey, not to worry, I’m sure your always right in your mind. /shrug

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Arktouros

There’s no point in debating me because you chose this really weird hill to die on where you say something isn’t true (“hypothetical” “dishonestly”) when we can literally just scroll down and see it is. Would quoting yourself and others make it more real for you? Should I take screenshots and post them as pictures?

I, like most people, generally think we’re right until proven otherwise (or why else convey it in such a way?). As a side note on that topic, throwing out names of logical fallacies like a referee on a sports field doesn’t accomplish that. For example if you wanted to refute the “crowd” part of the argument you could say something like, “Of the X unique people participating in this thread only Y ever brought up corporations’ rights which is hardly a ‘crowd’ of people.” or whatever nitpicky argument over semantics you want to have. You know, something that actually responds to what I’ve written.

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Utakata

Hey you put your foot in them…maybe I should let you put your foot in them, and then shut up about it.

But you know, taking my position which you can literally just scroll down and see it as it is, among 3 other parameters you have conveniently missed out. Then taking it out of context and then building your own personal spin on it, does constitute a logical fallacy to which invalidates your position (read:. strawman). Why do I have to spell it out to you? Because you refuse to acknowledge that. And because that proves that you might be wrong. And we certainly can’t have that, can we?

Now I’ve proved where you went off the rails, please put a sock in it. As I’m done here. Thnkx!

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Arktouros

Not that I mind, but it always looks a bit weird to boldly declare you’re “done debating” then continue replying.

The problem is you didn’t prove anything, as usual. To explain your error(s) you’re attempting to hold me accountable for an argument I did not try to make. For example my reply was not specifically towards you solely as there are multiple people (hence the “crowd”) making similar observations about corporations’ rights. I made an observation there in regarding that topic is obtuse because it doesn’t fully discuss the nuance of the situation such as the integral nature that social media has become part of in our social discourse as a society. Furthermore ignoring your other three parameters was not “convenient” as much as they are each wholly irrelevant to that observation. If I wanted to discuss all your points, I would have replied to you.

Your words were not taken out of context because the simplistic observational nature you presented your argument for corporation’s rights was the exact context needed to make my point that such views are surface level and obtuse. I can’t “spin” your words because I needed your basic argument, and I quote, “Them the Rulez” as the basis for my own argument. It’s disengenous to say I’ve taken that summary out of context when it was you who provided such at the end as a summary of your argument.

The worst part of your use of logical fallacies is the incorrect way in which you use them. Taking your argument and showing it’s failure to address other factors to the situation is not a “strawman.” A “strawman” argument would be if I refuted something other than your argument then said your argument was refuted by proxy. However again my entire argument is based on the failings of one of yours, and others, arguments so the accusation of being a “strawman” is pretty off the mark.

We have to go through this each time because for whatever reason you don’t think you have the obligation to explain yourself and instead just throw out some logical fallacy as if that suddenly unravels everything. It doesn’t. It never has. It never will. Logical fallacies are the tools you use to counter arguments by recognizing them for what they are. For example if I were using a strawman attack and not addressing your point and instead attacking something else entirely you don’t just start screaming strawman, strawman! Instead you use your knowledge of logical fallacies to see I’m not addressing your point and instead point out that I’m not addressing your actual argument much in the way I am doing right now :|

(PS: Before you think you’re clever here at no point have I refuted or disagreed with your arguments below so again saying I failed to address them is irrelevant because I never addressed or responded to them but instead observed the basic nature of one of them and it’s failure to consider the nuance of the situation even if it was correct).

I write all this in the hopes, what little are left, that future interactions will be improved by such observations.

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Utakata

….

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Armsman

Although interestingly enough, this we was likely a free speech matter as Blizz appeared to be doing this by proxy of the Chinese government.

^^^
It absolutely was NOT a free speech matter in that Blitzchung was not being arrested and thrown in jail in the U.S. The “freedom of speech” in the U.S. Constitution only applies to the U.S. government and further only applies to them not being able to lock you up in Federal or State prison because of what you said (and there ARE some exceptions – IE things you can say that the U.S. government CAN lock you up for).

Freedom of Speech Free to say whatever you like without ANY consequences – as anyone who has been hit with a libel/slander/defamation lawsuit and lost, can tell you.

The U.S. Constitution also (of course) doesn’t apply in other countries. (duh, I know); so if Blitzchung WAS punished by the Chinese Govt. (and I believe he is a Chinese citizen) – he’s under whatever laws/conventions the Chinese have regarding what can be said without fear of imprisonment.

And in NO WAY am I defending Blizzards action WRT the situation – I’m just telling you that no, it wasn’t a “free speech” issue in the context of the U.S. Constitution because Blizzard is not a U.S. Govt. entity.

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Bruno Brito

Not acknowledging that fact is simply negligent when discussing people being removed from them.

Sure but then, you are the last person that would want the government to decide if these companies have the right to deny business, aren’t you?

Because that’s the balance here: Companies having too much power ( which btw, they already have, with lobbying and whatnot ) against the Government overreaching to say what they can or cannot do.

It’s a debate, and one that will keep happening. You have a point, but it’s not that simple.

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Arktouros

My entire point was “it’s not that simple” when it comes to these matters.

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Bruno Brito

Then we agree.

To be fair, there are some professionals of law already debating that on Twitter. Popehat has been retweeting some threads of how you can be happy for Trump’s removal and yet, ask yourself how much power these corporations have with QoL products that indeed became essential for modern life.

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Arktouros

Yea it’s a really crazy scenario when you think about it. If we try to compare or analyze social media in context of other existing things it’s really hard to classify where it’d end up. It’s arguably not a “utility” (power, phone, etc) as we don’t even see the internet as a utility level necessity here. At the same time loss of access to social media in many ways is like the 21st century equivalent of like an excommunication.

Bit beyond the basic “Companies exercising their rights” argument.

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Bruno Brito

But do bear in mind somethings:

1- Your concept of free speech is different from mine. US free speech is different from Brazil. I have no qualms with nazi-propaganda being outright banned here nor do i have problems with people who wear swastika badges getting tossed in prison like a ragdoll.

2- It’s not just towards social media. Lobby and corporate power making political moves is a unavoidable truth for decades already. So, while i understand where it comes from, i’m still cringing a bit from the fact that half of the people debating this stood weirdly silent when pharma-companies were injecting billions in propaganda for addictive medicine for dubious conditions. Isn’t the opioid epidemic literally a issue that was caused by said companies? Social media is just the last “casuality” of a long, long issue with free market and the limits of government in america.

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Arktouros

I’m fully aware that different countries are run differently and have different social norms. I’m usually the one pointing this out anytime the topic of countries like China come up that have vastly different values from western countries. So obviously what free speech means is going to vary from place to place. Personally speaking I’ve never really seen free speech as a “pass” on hate speech but rather try to think of it in the context in which such a rule was written: You weren’t allowed to criticize the government/monarchy kinda thing so they wanted to secure the ability to do so. I mean imagine trying to explain to someone back in 1776 the concept of hate speech when they like literally own slaves. Maybe not that hard if I think about it, people have been garbage to one another throughout pretty much all of human history. However people do what they do and push rules/laws to their limit and now people are free to express hate or whatever.

Social media specifically is interesting because of the mandatory and yet non-mandatory nature of it’s access. Much of the standard public discourse that goes on today happens online via social media. Those that control it wield tremendous power and that’s before you even throw on a handy dandy tinfoil captain’s hat and start thinking about all the ways they can manipulate algorithms behind the scenes to influence what you do and don’t see. I mean even non-tinfoil there’s numerous articles/sources on the influence of things like bots and false accounts on places like Twitter. While corporations and the power and influence they have across a myriad of fields, including pharma, is problematic very few of them are in control of the way society communicates with one another. Like as bad as the opioid epidemic was it touched a tiny fraction of the user bases of most top end social media companies which touch the whole globe.

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traja

I agree but I have yet to see any reasonable solution to the problem. Most conservative types don’t seem to understand the tech side of this and propose things that would be unbearable in practice. Like having the platforms operate like a “public square”, which of course would mean that the contents would be almost entirely spam. Trumps demand of repealing liability protections on the other hand would have the opposite effect of shutting almost everything down.

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Arktouros

Yea I’m certainly not suggesting any solutions, my entire point was just to say that it’s not as simple as “company’s rights” when it comes to the topic. Even pie in the sky solutions assuming infinite funding and capability are still extremely problematic.

The effort to repeal 230 liability protections is solely a gambit to allow people like Trump to sue the companies into submission and remove content they don’t want on the platforms. It is not a solution nor a fix by any means and will do more harm than good.

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McGuffn

But wait, there’s more! Apple is threatening to remove Parler from its app store. Where will the god fearing patriotic free speech warriors go to post their death threats and calls to execute Mike Pence* now?

Will Tim Sweeney release an animated video comparing Apple’s censorship of murderous cranks to 1984?

*Parler removed those posts calling for Pence’s execution btw, so even free speech loving parler will “control your discourse.” But sure everyone get mad at Twitch or Twitter because they’re larger and have basic standards of civilization and human decency.

Also I want to let everyone know I accidently liked a post from a locked thread below and I can’t unlike it, not sure if that’s still a feature on Massively.

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Schmidt.Capela

Apple’s TOS require that any app that can be used to incite or facilitate violence, or where users can make otherwise objectionable content available to others, must have moderation in place to prevent that from happening. Thus, Parler is in direct violation of Apple’s TOS.

The same applies between Parler and Google/Android, mind.

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Armsman

Google already has removed that app from their App Store.

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Utakata

After being over this multiple times here on this fine internet publication, it still seems some folks have no real understanding of censorship and free speech. And how that really works.

So for the quick off-the-pigtail rundown of this for the hopeful re-education…

1) Private entities such as Twitch, FB, etc., are in their rights to control what is said and expressed on their mediums, for right or wrong. They can do this, because you the reader who signed that away in order to use their services. This also is the same for this site as well. Also see: Them the Rulez.

2) Private entities such as Twitch, FB, etc., are not government. And therefor are not beholden to any constitution or legislation that protect free speech and expression as far as I am aware. So they are in their legal rights to nuke someone’s account for whatever reason, even if it’s the *President of the United States.

*Note: Does anyone else here see the irony of complaints about Twitch, FB, etc., “censoring” government here? o.O

3) Putting all that aside, folks who exercise free speech and free expression do have to give account to what they say and do. It’s the natural limit on such because it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. And so if you the reader happen to incite a riot, for example…then your are fully liable for it’s results. Or should be.

4) If I had a dime for every winged nutter who goes on about free speech, censorship, etc, I would have enough to buy a large mansion right now and paint it all pink. Because it should be known that they really don’t actually believe in free speech for everyone. Just only for themselves. And demonstratively so.

Note to Bree-admin: If you find this on the off-topic/inflammatory side of things, feel free to nuke it. I’m just writing this out of a degree of frustration in the direction of where some of the comments where going. So the pigtails needed to vent some of that off. Sorry for that! >.<

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McGuffn

Exactly. Also I wonder if MassivelyOP would allow comments if, for example, Section 230 goes away. This place already has pretty heavy moderation while still striving for open conversation, and I’m sure it’s often an annoyance and takes a great deal of time, particulary when even somewhat incendiary topics like this one come up.

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Schmidt.Capela

Removing Section 230 would make it so you could sue, say, Facebook over a post there instead of suing the actual author.

Though I suspect moderation-light or moderation-free places like Gab and Parler would be far more vulnerable. Imagine democrat politicians and left-leaning personalities being able to directly sue Parler over every single defamatory or threatening post about them in that platform…

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McGuffn

Parler wouldn’t exist in its current ideological form. On the other hand it has/had that TOS saying Parler would bill you for its legal costs so that might provide some cover. Of course the cranks aren’t big on accepting responsibility for anything they do so I don’t think that will go over well with their core audience either.

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Schmidt.Capela

You can’t recover millions in damages and court costs when the user you are charging doesn’t have millions.

Not to mention that as soon as Parler started trying to enforce that it would likely lose almost all users.

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McGuffn

Correct. On the lawsuits you don’t have to necessarily lose millions to keep the users in line. One small lawsuit that recovers money from the user would send a ripple of outrage and fear through the community.

Now, on the other hand, I’d love to see Parler try to go after one of the bigger names on the site for legal fees.

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Bree Royce

By the numbers, we most definitely do not have heavy moderation. It works out to about 0.7%, or 7 out of 1000 posts that get deleted around here. We do have strict moderation, which is to say, there is a clear line, it is enforced, and toxicity isn’t welcome, and I don’t really care that people harass me over it. They can die mad about it. Most posters and most threads are just fine and overall our community is stellar, but then we get one like this that is messy and it just takes a bit more time and patience. It’s ok, it’s part of the job. (Edit: And thank you guys who help me by reporting stuff. It is a huge help.)

Wrecking S230 would basically destroy the internet as we know it, among other things, so frankly, I think we’d have much bigger problems than our comment section to worry about if politicians continue being idiots about it.

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Schmidt.Capela

One good thing about strict, consistent, and timely enforcement of the rules is that it serves as a strong disincentive against people even trying to break or circumvent them, which not only results in a more pleasant environment but also helps keep down the need for moderators to even take action.

Which is one of the reasons I really hope Twitter, Facebook, etc take this episode as a clue to remove the exceptions that allow persons of interest to post content that would be against their rules. This would reduce a lot the incentive for others to try to mimic said unruly behavior, and make those platforms more enjoyable places for everyone else.

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Hostagecat

I appreciate you coherent response in the name of clarity and pigtails. I also would like to add radio stations and television if anybody watches or listens to them are regulated and fall under different laws. That is why you get to see crazies on late at night and early mornings, no im not talking about informercials.

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Hirku Two

The Twitter ban is now permanent.

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Darthbawl

Oh boy, I am almost hyperventilating from laughing too hard over this.

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Hirku Two

I’m just waiting for the sockpuppets.

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Bruno Brito

He tried to use the POTUS account, the campaign account.

It was hilariously pathetic.

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Schmidt.Capela

Twitter is also cracking down on accounts that spread QAnon-originated conspiracy theories, with a few prominent ones already banned.

Also, Apple also gave Parler 24 hours to provide a plan for how they will remove all “objectionable, potentially harmful content” from it or be removed from the App Store. There’s some expectation that Google will follow suit.

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Dean Greenhoe

Next they will ban Putin … Its just a publicity stunt.

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Schmidt.Capela

Contrary to the outgoing US president, Putin’s accounts never violated the TOS of the social media platforms.

Though, of course, also contrary to the outgoing president — but in line with almost all heads of state from all around the world — Putin has PR professionals manning all his accounts.

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Sorenthaz

We live in the weirdest timeline where folks are cheering for the censorship of ideas and views they disagree with, all the way to limiting the President of the United State’s ability to communicate through online platforms.

And this is going way beyond just the shit from Wednesday that very few people condone.

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Schmidt.Capela

Given why he was banned, yeah, it’s cause to celebrate. Or at least to feel relief that the social media companies are finally doing what they should have done a long time ago. No one, not even a head of state, should be allowed to use social media to incite violence.

Heck, I’m all for the UK’s proposed legislation that would force social media companies to remove posts that spread harmful lies (i.e., those where believing the lie could cause actual damage to the person or those around him/her), under threat of being fined for up to 10% of their global revenue.

And he still has plentiful channels to communicate anything important. He just lost access to the channels he could use unfiltered, spontaneously.

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treehuggerhannah

…Why would the president of the United States need (or want) to “communicate” through a video game streaming platform?

You realize most presidents throughout American history have managed to govern without this dependence on social media, right?

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Sorenthaz

This goes beyond Twitch, which is what I’m talking about. Social media is going on a purging spree between Facebook, Twitter, and probably Youtube/Google to join in. His Twitch channel was just used to stream his rallies and whatnot.

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treehuggerhannah

Those are all privately owned platforms, not government entities. Don’t people still have control of their own property?

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Schmidt.Capela

His Twitch channel had been banned before because he regularly incites violence (“Lock Her Up!”, or saying that the media is the enemy of the country), spreads racism, and spews a bunch of other toxic speech in his rallies. So pretty much any of his rallies violates a number of Twitch’s guidelines.

Heck, the only reason he wasn’t banned way earlier from all the media platforms is because they created exceptions for certain persons of interest, including presidential candidates and heads of state. He violated the terms of service of pretty much every social media platform he was active in on a regular basis.

IMHO those exceptions for persons of interest should never have been created in the first place; if you can’t be civil in a social media platform, you don’t belong there, regardless of who — or how important — you are.

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NeoWolf

I think where Trump is concerned there is a HUGE difference between censorship of ideas and differing viewpoints and openly inciting people to commit seditious acts.

Freedom of Speech does not equate to Freedom from consequence. A lesson Trump has clearly never learned because he has probably never had anyone tell him no in his life.