New York: Donald Trump’s friends, family, and advisers have been bitterly complaining that the Twitter ban of the president after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol amounted to an assault on freedom of expression by far-left extremists.
Ironically, given the massive impact of the platform, they broadcast their complaints first and foremost on … Twitter – An option that emphasizes the platform’s massive readership and the relative scarcity of alternatives.
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, wrote on Twitter: “Freedom of expression is dead and left-wing leaders dominate it.”
“Who will be silenced next?” Asked Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney.
Mike Pompeo – who was not published as Secretary of State but on his own account – tweeted: “Unfortunately, this is not a new left-wing tactic. They have been silencing dissenting voices for years.”
For influential Republican Senator Ted Cruz, the decisions of Twitter and some other social media were “extremely ridiculous and dangerous.”
“Why should a small number of billionaires in Silicon Valley have a monopoly on political speech?”
Each of the aforementioned messages was posted on Twitter, the social network that has long been Trump’s favorite way to communicate with the public. – And sometimes with other world leaders.
But on Friday, amid widespread anger after his supporters who made their way to the US Capitol in a bloody and chaotic brawl, Twitter permanently blocked him.
She added that she rarely takes action “given the risk of further incitement to violence.”
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitch joined forces in suspending the president’s accounts.
Reddit, a somewhat permissive news and discussion site, shut down a forum popular with Trump fans, saying it incites hatred.
The question now is where Trump and his supporters will go next.
Donald Trump Jr., who fears being excluded from Twitter, has asked his followers to send him emails – Hardly the most interactive form of communication – So he can keep them informed of the news.
In a quickly deleted tweet, the president himself spoke on Friday of creating his own platform “in the near future,” without providing any details.
The conservative platforms popular among Trump’s toughest supporters, such as Parler and Gap, have attracted increasing numbers of users.
Gab saw “record traffic” on Friday and Saturday nights, according to its creator Andrew Torba, and had to add computer servers to handle it.
It reported 12 million hits in 12 hours, adding to “explosive growth now.”
Launched in 2016, Gab positions itself as a platform to promote “freedom of expression” but has become known above all for its extreme right. – Even the neo-nazis – User base.
In 2018, when an attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue killed 11 people, investigators discovered anti-Semitic posts by a shooter in Gap.
Several companies have banned Gab, including PayPal, Visa, and Apple and Google app stores.
Parler, for his part, briefly became the best free app on the Apple App Store on Saturday – Even Apple removed it for allowing “threats of violence.” It was removed from the Google Play Store a day ago.
On a larger scale, it has retreated from its position as the preferred platform for far-right parties, as it was when it launched in 2018.
It is now attracting more traditional, conservative voices, such as Fox News star and close Trump ally Sean Hannity, as well as South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Christy Noem.
Mark Levine, another regular political commentator for Parler, said he had “suspended” his Twitter account “in protest of Twitter fascism”. He asked his followers to join him in Parler.
Levine also mentioned his account on Rumble, which, like YouTube, broadcasts videos but promises its users that they will “never be censored because of political or scientific content.”
However, all of these alternative platforms are closely related to the right – Even the far right – This, especially as tech companies move against it, is unlikely to attract followers like Trump’s 88 million followers on Twitter.