Remember, how the entire free world outraged when Big Tech silenced Donald J. Trump, the then President of the oldest democracy in the world. Well, social media giants may have banned Trump over allegedly ideological issues and a bias towards the far-left narrative pushed by the Democrats, but now they are getting very nervous about Trump’s new move.
On Tuesday, Trump launched a new communications platform called the ‘Desk’. The platform will serve as “a place to speak freely and safely,” and allow Trump to communicate directly with his followers, following indefinite bans from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Now, the announcement of Trump’s communications platform is really a huge setback for social media giants, as it really threatens to steal much of their traffic and ability to control the online narrative.
The launch of the ‘Desk’ strongly militates against the monopoly of Silicon Valley-based social media giants on internet discourse. The fact remains that Big Tech may have silenced Trump, but the former US President actually used to bring a lot of traffic for social media companies like Facebook and Twitter.
Trump is popular both inside and outside the US. He was followed by millions of admirers and supporters on his social media profiles. Today, Trump may not be allowed to use any of the social media platforms, but his supporters have stayed. Mostly, they represent Trumpism on social media.
However, now that Trump has launched his own communications platform, many of these supporters would want to shift away from the traditional social media platforms. Later, if Trump actually decides to launch a social media platform with two-way communication, then it could lead to an even greater flight of traditional social media users to Trump-led initiatives.
Ultimately, the Big Tech will have to decide if it wants to keep Trump booted out of social media platforms. On Wednesday, Facebook’s Oversight Board upheld Trump’s ban from Facebook and Twitter.
However, the Oversight Board also said that the decision to permanently ban the former US President was “indeterminate and standardless”, and that the correct course of action should be “consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform”.
Facebook has been given six months to respond. The Oversight Board was established by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and it operates as an independent entity, though its costs and wages are financed by the social media giant. As per BBC, “It is made up of journalists, human rights activists, lawyers and academics.”
Meanwhile, Trump haters are concerned that the former US President may be allowed to come back on platforms like Facebook. During a panel discussion on CNN, anchor Alisyn Camerota said, “President Trump’s lies led to a bloody, deadly insurrection! Why would they (Oversight Board) ever let him back on to peddle more of the crap?”
In response to Camerota’s rant against Trump, CNN’s left-wing veteran, Brian Stelter said, “There are a lot of members of this board that are free speech advocates, First Amendment absolutists in some cases that are going to make an argument that these platforms should not be in a position of making these choices at all.” Stelter added, “If Trump is brought back on Facebook, it will likely be for those reasons.”
CNN was speaking about the Oversight Board. But it is likely that nervous social media platforms themselves bring back Trump. Indeed, if the social media giants will claim that they did so in the interest of free speech. But there are a number of factors that will play upon them, and mainly Big Tech will be concerned about the possibility of future Trump platforms stealing its users.