Thursday took Mark Zuckerberg to Facebook to announce the end of Trump’s government – at least on the platform.
Yesterday’s meeting at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC turned into a storm of the Capitol itself by Trump supporters after a speech calling the said president “we will never give in.”
In his post this morning, Zuckerberg noted that Trump had used his platform on Facebook extensively for campaigns, often delving into disinformation and conspiracy theories, especially since the November election. Following yesterday’s violence, Zuckerberg said that “the current context is now fundamentally different, with the use of our platform to instigate violent insurgency against a democratically elected government.”
In yesterday’s speech that preceded the mafia’s accusation against congressional chambers, Trump took potshots, claiming that Big Tech companies “faked an election.” Trump also called the media “the biggest problem we have, as far as I’m concerned.”
Ironically, Trump has often relied on Big Tech platforms such as Facebook and, in particular, Twitter to bypass media outlets riddled with what he would describe as censorship – but which is actually the fundamental journalistic process of fact-checking. Twitter yesterday released a number of Trump’s tweets when violence escalated in Washington and eventually has locked his account, but only before 12 o’clock. Despite that slot ending a few hours ago, its timeline remains inactive.
Congress has called on the CEOs of both Facebook and Twitter to appear before them with rapidly increasing frequency over the past year due to the outsized role such platforms play in the national debate. Democrats have accused the platforms of spreading misinformation, while Republicans say they censor Republicans.
In hearings on the Friday before the election, Republicans of the Senate Commerce Committee Zuckerberg and Twitter player Jack Dorsey reluctant to pull Trump’s messages. Many on the committee joined a chorus of attacks on Section 230, a widely misunderstood part of the Communications Decency Act that exempts websites hosting user-generated content from full legal liability for that content, although content moderation standards are a requirement stay.
Indeed, it was with the hope of repealing Section 230 that Trump vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act two weeks ago. However, Congress overruled that veto, a first under Trump’s presidency.
After the return of Congress last night, most of Trump’s allies were depressed. Even Kelly Loeffler, who just had that morning lost a run-off Senate race in Georgia that she was largely based on her idolization of Trump, withdrawn from previous promises to challenge the President-style results.
Ultimately, Facebook’s sudden turnaround against Trump may be more pragmatic than idealistic. You may have noticed that after those elections in Georgia, Democrats will control the House, Senate and White House, bodies likely to continue Facebook to account calling.
Facebook’s stock was trading at $ 268.76 at the time of publication, barely moving since Zuckerberg’s announcement earlier this morning.