Before we delve into the debate of whether it is unjust or even dangerous to remove an infamous political figure from social media platforms, we must first realize what censorship truly is. According to the Oxford Dictionary, censorship is “the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.”
On Jan. 6 of this year, the nation was shocked and amazed that Trump supporters raided the United States Capitol. The reasoning behind this transgression was their disapproval of Presidential-Elect Joe Biden remaining the victor in the presidential election even after a recount.
After watching the shocking events that unfolded at the attack on the Capitol, which has not seen a large-scale attack since 1814, it was determined the violence stemmed from a tweet President Trump posted that same day.
In response social media platforms have decided to take action to prevent a repeat of such atrocities. The first of these platforms to react was Twitter, which has been Trump’s main social media outlet before and during his presidency. In the days following the attack, Twitter placed a necessary temporary block on Trump’s account. Afterward, Twitter would take further action by removing his account completely from their site.
Since Twitter made this announcement, other sites have taken similar measures to either block Trump’s account or associated accounts that support him, such as extremist conservatives. This now includes Facebook, Parler, YouTube, Twitch, Reddit. Instagram, Pinterest, Discord, TikTok and Snapchat.
Essentially, Donald Trump has become the first U.S. President to be simultaneously removed from social media within the span of a week. This is the first time I have heard of social media platforms, online stores or just companies such as Apple removing a single individual from its site or using its products and services.
Even before his presidency, Trump has been spewing hateful, violent and discriminatory speech. Although I was astonished that he was being blocked from social media, I am pleased that both him and his extremist supporter groups were removed. This was a necessary action to further prevent the circulation of negative information that would increase tensions in the United States.
The actions Trump supporters took to show their disapproval of a fair election proves that sometimes a voice may need to be censored. Spreading hate filled rants about ideas or policies that you do not support has divided the nation. Moreover, showing support for this raid and allowing them to become heroes of his agenda does not sit well.
Over the summer, the nation experienced a large-scale Black Lives Matter movement. During that time period, the peaceful protestors were implicated to be a threat to national security and presented toxic propaganda by Trump. However, when his supporters spread violence and fear, he praised them for their actions. Trump’s biased ways have led to an unforgettable day in U.S. history, that needs to be addressed before more violence is taken.
It is unethical to censor someone’s free speech, but when that speech threatens the safety of specific individuals or a community, then action must be taken in order to prevent terror attacks such as the one on the U.S. Capitol.