Social networks staged a demarche against Trump. On Facebook, a post has been removed from the official page of the American president, which was considered “fake” information about the coronavirus. And Twitter has robbed Trump’s campaign headquarters of the ability to post new messages – all for the same reason. What is really behind these actions?
The US president’s relationship with social media is complex. On the one hand, the industry giants do not hide their sympathy for the Democrats, on the other hand, Facebook continues to actively cooperate with Trump’s headquarters in advertising.
Publicly, Mark Zuckerberg and other social media executives have proclaimed their impartiality, despite the traditional accusations by conservative activists of silencing their position.
Until recently, mainly local Republican politicians fell under blocking and deletion of records, but on August 5, a significant event took place: Trump’s first post of all time was removed.
Why is the head of the White House suffering in social networks?
President Trump is clearly nervous about the unstable state of the economy. This is noticeable in the ever-growing demands for a more active return to normal life.
A massive return of Americans to work is hardly possible without opening schools – children need to do something. However, during the coronavirus epidemic, it is dangerous to open educational institutions … or not?
“I think schools should be open. If you look at children, children are almost – and I would say almost definitely – but almost immune to this disease, ”Trump says. The president added that children “have a much stronger immune system” and “there simply are no problems.”
This statement, to put it mildly, raises serious doubts. It is unlikely that Trump personally tested all of America’s children to make sure they were “nearly immune to the coronavirus.” In addition, various medical organizations have repeatedly warned of the danger of the mistaken belief that COVID-19 is a “disease of the elderly.”
However, Trump’s pre-election statements should be viewed precisely as pre-election – the president needs to be re-elected and he is trying to secure 4 more years in office.
The reaction of social networks to such messages is another matter. Previously, they simply allowed themselves to mark Trump’s messages as inaccurate (which even then angered the President of the United States), but now they have completely moved on to deleting Trump’s records in order to protect their clients from dangerous misinformation.
“This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune to COVID-19, which is in violation of our policy on harmful misinformation about COVID-19,” Facebook spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois said. The microblogging service Twitter adheres to a similar position.
Trump’s campaign headquarters are outraged by the behavior of social networks. President’s campaign spokeswoman Courtney Parella stressed that President Trump “stated the fact that children are less susceptible to coronavirus.”
“Another manifestation of Silicon Valley’s blatant bias against this president, where rules are enforced in only one direction,” Parella added. “Social media companies are not arbiters of truth.”
And, in general, this is the main aspect. Not even the question of children’s immunity to coronavirus is remarkable. Children under the age of 18 make up 7% of reported COVID-19 cases, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also account for 1% of coronavirus-related hospitalizations and less than 1% of deaths. But that’s not the point.
The bottom line is that over time, social networks are increasingly taking on the role of “arbiters of truth.” So far, this concerns a really important topic regarding the coronavirus.
But the very desire of social media to evaluate speech is alarming among conservatives. Many Republicans fear that media companies will go further and start checking the veracity of other political statements.
And the statistics are the following: both the phrase that most crimes are committed by white Americans, and the objection that everything looks different, if you look not in absolute numbers, but as a percentage of the population, are absolutely correct. But which of this will be perceived as the truth, supported by statistics?
The only way to avoid further debate about the truth of this or that statement is to spread the First Amendment on social networks, which guarantees freedom of speech. The Republicans have been advocating this for a long time, and if this happens, the issue of the “arbiters of truth” will forever go down in history.