By Anamitra Deb
In the aftermath of the violent insurrection on the U.S. Capitol last week, Twitter and Facebook de-platformed President Donald Trump. They effectively ended his unprecedented run of attention-hacking, gaslighting, and outright lies about the results of the 2020 presidential election.
It wasn’t just the president and leader of the free world who got this treatment. All of a sudden, the dominant social media platforms, including YouTube, also decided they had had enough of the incendiary groups—QAnon, “Stop the Steal,” and related conspiracy groups—that had been allowed to use their services to organize a movement that ultimately resulted in a deadly attempted coup.
Apple and Google also suspended Parler from their app marketplaces, while Amazon retracted its web service support for the company, as Parler has become the platform of choice for these conspiracy groups to organize. All cited concerns with Parler’s insufficient content moderation regime.
Ahead of congressional oversight, the dominant tech platforms, and particularly Twitter, removed Trump’s favored microphone. And the very same companies then used their command of digital markets’ “chokepoints” to severely curtail a rival social media platform (as undesirable as communication on that platform may be).
Tech platforms finally did the right thing, for all the wrong reasons.
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