Written by Libby Taylor
In early January, following the comments he wrote on Twitter during the storming of Capitol Hill, Trump was temporarily banned from Twitter for 24-hours. He was then banned from the site permanently shortly after. Many have celebrated this ban with Trump notoriously using the site to tweet insults, to cheer allies and fire officials, he also used Twitter to deny ‘fake news’ claims. However, whilst Trump has been banned, it can still be argued that the damage has already been done. Pro-Trump Americans and supporters of the Capitol riots are still able to continue these discussions, so has Trump’s ban really made a difference?
Trump made clear that he loved Twitter as a method of directly talking to his supporters, and the site itself benefited from his account as it was the main method people used to read the latest from the former president. However, Twitter says that they banned Trump not just because of the threat of him inciting violence after he called the people who stormed the US Congress ‘patriots’, but because now he is no longer president, his power has slipped away. He is now being treated as an ordinary member of the public.
Even though Trump’s twitter page has now been taken down and the tweets with it, this does not mean that his previous views and words have disappeared in people’s minds. Whilst most think it is a good thing that Trump was banned from Twitter, the hefty number of pro-Trump supporters still remains. Though he was banned from ‘mainstream’ social media sites such as: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitch, there are many more sites Trump can go to – and his supporters follow – where he can continue to share his views without being filtered.
70,000 other Twitter accounts who shared their support for both Trump and the riots at the US Congress were also banned, but still many remain on the site. Despite Trump not being active on Twitter, his supporters will still share their support for him, continuing the discussions he started. The only thing that will possibly stop this kind of speech if accounts aren’t banned, is the eventual end to the discussion as time goes on. This is encouraged by the new Biden administration. With no one in a position of power that believes strongly in extreme Republican ideologies, the spreading of these views on social media will not be as public. However, it seems unlikely that Trump’s supporters will stop talking about recent developments any time soon. Twitter should have banned Trump a long time before they did as it is clear his presence on the app contributed to fueling rioters, resulting in a major breach of American democracy.
Whilst some may argue that Trump’s ban was too little too late, we can agree that it is a major step in removing his hate speech from one of the most popular modern social media sites. Trump and his supporters may go to another online forum where they can continue to converge with him, we can only hope that his, albeit late, ban to Twitter is the beginning of the end of fuelling hatred on such a public level. By removing Trump’s account, the issue of misinformation, inciting violence, and hate speech can be dramatically reduced.