Twitter Might Want to Think This Through

Columnist writes the implications are many, surely, but unclear
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2021 5:10 PM CST
Twitter's Historic Decision Bucks Strong Currents
Twitter suspended the account of President Trump on Friday.   (AP Photo)

Twitter's decision to permanently bar President Trump is in opposition to a decades-long movement to banish media filters. It raises many questions, John Harris writes in Politico, and he poses the first one to Twitter itself: "Are you sure about this?" The implications of Twitter's move aren't clear yet, but Harris calls the decision historic. The ability of Americans to impart their political ideas directly to other Americans—without going through TV anchors or newspaper editors—is what made the rise of Trump possible. Among the conflicting arguments are that the president's "pathetic braying about a 'stolen election' shows contempt for democracy," Harris writes. On the other hand, he points out, Trump's "attack on democracy is also a perverse expression of democracy."

The Twitter ban "represents an effort to reassert the notion that filters have a place in political communication and that some voices have lost their claim on public legitimacy," Harris writes. But it's not clear that even Twitter has the power to restore those filters at this point. And maybe, as these social media changes have evolved, we've mostly changed one set of "media elites" controlling public discourse for another set: the men who run Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. That brings up another question from Harris: "Who the hell elected Jack Dorsey or Mark Zuckerberg?" (You can read the full column by Harris here.)

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