No one, not even the president, should be allowed the platform to incite violence

Banning former President Trump from social media platforms was justified.


Akhila Johny/Talon

Donald Trump pictured below various social media platforms, some of which he was banned from.

How does the president of the United States, a first world country, an international superpower, manage to get himself banned from virtually every known social media platform? By directly inciting violence, apparently.

On Jan. 6, a large group of former President Donald Trump’s supporters gathered outside the U.S. Capitol per Trump’s request. It was at a rally outside the southside of the White House where Trump encouraged his supporters to dispute the results of the election and encourage politicians in their party to do the same.

“Walk down Pennsylvania Avenue [and] give [weak Republicans the] kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country,” Trump said.

Trump is no stranger to incendiary tweets, but his actions and words encouraged a violent attack on our nation’s Capitol and against sitting Congress members. 

The internet has provided the world with a plethora of social media sites where people form connections relating to various hobbies and interests. However, it has also become a breeding ground for hate, and users are free to comment and message each other without fear of grand repercussions. So why does it matter if Trump used his platforms to make snide remarks and further divide the nation — isn’t it within his right? 

Technically, it is, but I argue that it’s one thing for a stranger to make crude comments and another for the president of the United States to actively encourage his fanatics to reject the result of a fair election. This behavior from a world leader shouldn’t be tolerated and he deserved to be banned from all those social media platforms.

The First Amendment’s sole purpose is to prevent government censorship and while Congress is barred from passing laws that prohibit free speech, private companies, such as Twitter and Instagram, are free to censor users as they see fit. In other words, no, this wasn’t unconstitutional. 

“The First Amendment applies to the government, and Twitter or Facebook, or any other social media platform, by and large, is a private sector actor and therefore the First Amendment does not apply,” VCU constitutional law expert Dr. John Aughenbaugh said in an interview for NBC

These platforms also cited specific policies that he broke, essentially defending their decision to ban him. Regardless of his party affiliation or the government position he held, the same rules still apply. 

Reddit, for example, said that their policies “prohibit content that promotes hate, or encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence against groups of people or individuals.” Other companies like Twitch, Shopify, Spotify, Snapchat, Pinterest and many more, have all provided similar statements. 

His speech condemning the violence was also a poor attempt to deflect his responsibility. Telling his supporters to “go home,” and “We love you,” aren’t things you should be telling criminals who orchestrated an attack on the Capitol. This, however, isn’t the first time Trump has dismissed violent groups. In September of last year, during the first presidential debate, Trump was asked about white supremacy. Rather than denouncing these types of hate groups, Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” 

So while I’m disgusted at his lack of leadership, I’m not surprised Trump gave them a pat on the back and told them to go home as if they hadn’t just compromised the integrity and safety of our nation. 

Freedom of speech is a right that prevents government censorship, but this case had nothing to do with government actions. Therefore, despite what some Republicans say, Trump’s first amendments rights were not being violated. 

Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point where banning the president of the United States from platforms where he could cause another uprising is a necessary and justified action. It’s tragic and humiliating on the world stage, but it’s a necessary action in order to hold some level of accountability.