VCs warn that Twitter, Facebook will face backlash on all fronts from banning Trump: tech ‘dictatorships’ are over


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In the wake of a pro-Trump extremists ransacking the Capitol, Trump found himself removed from Twitter, Facebook, and a number of other social media sites. These companies say they do not want to host rhetoric that could incite more violence.

Facebook and Twitter say their decisions to drop Trump are justified, citing terms-of-service violations. But members of the venture capital tech elite on all sides of the political spectrum aren’t so sure.

They are debating if such actions are truly appropriate for social media companies. Early Twitter investor Fred Wilson wrote, while he thinks it’s “wonderful news that the lies, the hate, the awfulness that is the current President of the United States will no longer be available on Twitter (where I am still a shareholder) …  it is problematic that Twitter has this much power.”

He explained, “Not only are they silencing Trump, they are taking away his tens of millions of followers, and they are prohibiting all of his followers from seeing his tweets.”

Others echoed Wilson’s thoughts. Their main argument against the ban is that social media companies are not fit to filter the president or control who hears what he has to say. Some investors described his removal as an assault on free speech.

“Rights are only rights if they protect unfavored groups,” Keith Rabois, a general partner at Founders Fund, tweeted.

Read more: Facebook tells staff to avoid wearing company-branded clothing in public for their own safety after it booted Trump off the platform

In another tweet, Rabois, who describes himself as a conservative, attacked “all of the leftists” who argue that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to Twitter. He pointed to “any of the shopping mall cases where liberals argued the opposite,” referring to a legal standard that gives people the right to enter and remain on private property to exercise their freedom of expression.

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The idea is that malls in their prime were like town squares for meeting and engaging in political protest. Coincidentally, Twitter has for years positioned itself a “global town square.”

The right to speak freely in a physical town square should extend to a digital one, argues David Sacks.

On Monday, the investor broke from a days-long twitterstorm to debate the issue on “The All-In Podcast.” He said that in this day and age, most speech happens online, and there is no free speech without freedom of expression online.

“Now, what Trump did was absolutely outrageous,” Sacks said on the podcast. “And I think it brought him to an ignominious end in American politics. He will pay for it in the history books, if not in a court of law.”

Sacks argues that a temporary suspension from Twitter would have been a more appropriate consequence than a lifetime ban.

Read more: Angela Merkel says Twitter’s decision to bar Trump is a threat to free speech

It’s time to build

The law, however, does not guarantee a person’s ability to say whatever they want on any particular social media app. 

“Just as Trump has the …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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