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Trump still has the biggest voice on the planet as president. As he becomes increasingly isolated in his final days in office, his suspension from Twitter could help stave off potential disaster.

Published by Business Insider on Sat, 09 Jan 2021


<p><img src="https://static2.businessinsider.com/image/5ff935e8d184b30018aadebc-2380/GettyImages-1223057457.jpg" border="0" alt="Donald Trump on phone" data-mce-source="Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images" data-mce-caption="President Donald Trump."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Twitter, a private company, has decided to permanently suspend President Donald Trump, the world's most powerful public servant, from its platform, days after a riot by Trump supporters at the US Capitol left five people dead.</p><p>The move followed Trump's repeated incitements, telling rioters, "I love you," and that "you're very special people" as they wreaked havocpurposefully interrupting a joint session of Congress that convened to certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election.</p><p>Trump, in his final days, has, according to reports, become more <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-insurrection-coup-attempt-analysis-whats-next-2021-1">isolated and unpredictable</a>. Members of his cabinet and others in the administration have resigned and some lawmakers who supported him are keeping their distance.</p><p>On Friday, the company decided that Trump's repeated violations deserved a permanent suspension, citing the concern that Trump would <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-tweets-understood-as-encouragement-to-commit-violence-2021-1">use his platform to incite further riots</a> on and before Biden's inauguration.&nbsp;</p><p>Twitter's deplatforming of the most powerful man in the world was arguably in service of democracy. (<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/why-trump-bans-from-twitter-facebook-dont-violate-first-amendment-2021-1">And not a violation of the First Amendment.</a>)</p><p>As University of California, Irvine law professor <a href="https://twitter.com/rickhasen/status/1347720517604659201">Rick Hasen tweeted</a>: "Public pressure to get private companies to exclude speech meant to bring down American democracy is not censorship. It is patriotism."</p><h2>Twitter's move restricted the immediate harm that Trump could cause through the social platform</h2><p>Even when Trump was cut off, he tried again, first through @POTUS, and then again, through @TeamTrump, to force his message onto the platform, where the @realDonaldTrump account had 88 million followers.</p><p>Twitter is a private company, and Trump is the most powerful and platformed man in the world. Twitter simply toned down the megaphone of a man whose propensity to share disinformation has raged on through the platform unchecked.</p><p>Twitter was his communication tool of choice even before holding office, and once in office, his tweets became archived presidential records. And Trump largely remained unscathed by Twitter's rules (while others were held accountable) <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-twitter-account-lose-world-leader-protections-exemption-20-2020-11">because of their world leader clause</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>In this case, Twitter said Trump had gone a step too far and violated the terms of service by inciting violencea mob that marched to the Capitol to stop an important step in the lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.</p><p>Private companies do not have to aid in the spread of propaganda. Powerful political actors do not need more levers to abuse power. Public servants being held to a more transparent and higher standard is productive for democracy.&nbsp;</p><h2>People have lived the consequences of Trump's whims on Twitter</h2><p>He has shaped foreign and domestic policy in 280 characters. There have been rage tweets bringing <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-tweets-statement-iran-qassem-soleimani-airstrike-2020-1">countries</a> <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-responds-to-trumps-nuclear-button-tweet-north-korea-2018-1">to the precipice of war</a>, bigoted tweets against Black lawmakers and protesters, surprise administration <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/kirstjen-nielsen-reportedly-joins-list-of-officials-trump-fired-by-tweet-2019-4">firings</a>, and tweets that have sent the stock market on <a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/stock-market-news-today-sp500-dow-plunge-trump-stimulus-tweet-2020-10-1029654341">rollercoaster dives and highs</a>.</p><p>His thumbs have dictated the pace of news cycles and the dynamic of congressional reactions and action.&nbsp;</p><p>Twitter, media companies, and other social platforms have also been a megaphone to his repeated conspiracy theories and disinformation about the 2020 Presidential election (which he shared before, during, and after the Capitol siege)despite Twitter and others slapping warnings on his tweets that the content was "disputed." (There is no evidence to suggest any widespread voter or election fraud.)</p><p>And if the events of January 6, provide evidence of what four years of often angry, conspiratorial messaging can do to motivate a swath of Trump's followers, then reeling back that power can ideally deny any future messages as he clings to his final days in office.</p><p>Ultimately, Trump's tweets as president never existed in a vacuum.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/trumps-twitter-ban-is-productive-for-democracy-us-world-2021-1#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/electric-planes-future-of-aviation-problems-regulations-2020-3">Why electric planes haven't taken off yet</a></p>
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