LAD Asks: Majority Believe Social Media Companies Should Be Allowed To Ban Accounts
A massive debate has erupted around the world over the past week about the role social media companies play in our society.
Some argue they should simply be platforms that allow people to talk about their passions, hobbies, ideas and beliefs without intervention. Others think companies need to have a bit more oversight into what type of content users can post.
But where is the line?
Twitter came under intense scrutiny on Friday (January 8) when it revealed it was going to permanently ban Donald Trump's account due to the Capitol riots in Washington D.C. It's worth mentioning that it was Trump's personal account, not the POTUS one.
But many thought it was a step too far for a social media company to 'silence' a world leader. Twitter has since explained why it stopped Trump from posting, with CEO Jack Dorsey saying it wasn't an easy decision to make.
"I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here," he said.
"After a clear warning we'd take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter. Was this correct?
"I believe this was the right decision for Twitter. We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety.
"Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all."
The US President has since copped suspensions or bans on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, Pintrest and more.
There have been plenty of commentary about whether any of this is justified.
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But on Wednesday (January 13), Twitter also banned 70,000 accounts that were sharing QAnon dangerous conspiracy theories.
Other social media sites like Facebook and YouTube announced last year they would be introducing new measures to ensure QAnon, anti-vaxx content and coronavirus misinformation isn't allowed to spread.
So the question again begs to be asked: should social media companies have the power to decide what content stays and what goes?
According to you, the majority say yes.
We put out a poll this week to see whether the likes of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube should get the right to deplatform certain accounts, even if they happen to be the President of the United States.
A little more than two-thirds of you (68 per cent) agreed and 32 per cent said no.
One person wrote: "They are businesses. As with all businesses, 'we reserve the right to refuse entry'."
Another added: "You cant walk into an airport and yell 'bomb', you cant walk into a cinema and yell 'fire'. Freedom of speech is fine but there are consequences if you hurt other people. Inciting a country to ignore a legitimate election and act violently is one of those with consequences."
However, some are worried what precedent it will set in the future.
A user responding to the poll mentioned: "The problem with the main social media platforms is that they become judge, jury and executioner for anything that doesn't follow their own values. In most cases, these values are very liberal and not in line with the mood in the room."
They were backed up by another supporter, who said: "When you restrict freedom of speech, you have an agenda. Today you restrict one group and tommorow they restrict you."
When you sign up to a social media company, you will be required to sign a Terms and Conditions waiver, which has all the fine print necessary to block, ban, limit or suspend your account and posting abilities.
Whether you like it or not, you're bound to those conditions...even if you are the President.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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