Free speech threatened in social-media censorship of president

Several social media companies that long have censored President Trump stepped up their crackdown on him Thursday in response to statements he posted affirming his belief that the 2020 election was fatally flawed with fraud.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat all announced some level of punishment for Trump, including an indefinite lockdown by Snapchat.

“We can confirm that earlier on Wednesday we locked President Trump’s Snapchat account,” a company official told Fox News.

The official claimed the president’s rhetoric was “dangerous.”

Facebook and Twitter also imposed lockdowns.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”

Twitter required Trump to remove several posts after he tweeted: “I know your pain, I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.”

Further, Shopify said it was closing down e-commerce pages for Trump and his campaign.

“We have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump,” the company announced. “Shopify does not tolerate actions that incite violence.”

Trump’s merchandise, however, continued to be available online at Amazon and eBay, meaning the decision likely would not have a major impact.

Politico reported Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state warned of the free speech implications of the censorship.

“Censoring the sitting President of the United States has serious free speech consequences that will extend far beyond President Trump’s time in office,” she said, “Rather, President Trump should use his platform to lower the temperature and encourage a peaceful transition of power.”

The Trump speech limits developed after the Capitol riot on Wednesday.

Facebook’s Instagram platform and Twitter were first to freeze the president’s accounts, and Facebook joined them.

Biden’s transition team complained just days ago that Twitter won’t transfer millions of followers from the Trump administration, which has been censored on the platform hundreds of times, to the Biden administration, which never has been subjected to censorship.

“Twitter’s reluctance to transfer millions of followers from the Trump administration to the Biden administration unnecessarily politicizes what otherwise should be a routine transfer of communication from one administration to the next,” spokesman Cameron French told CNN.

The Biden team argued the transfer was made from Obama to Trump. However the Obama account had about 13 million followers while Trump has some 60 million.

In addition, Trump’s personal account, @realDonaldTrump, over which he will retain control, has nearly 90 million followers.

The existing followers of the Trump administration account will be sent a message that the account is being archived and they have the option of following the new administration.

French said in a statement that it’s all about the executive branch communicating with the nation.

“Twitter has failed to articulate a clear reason for why they have chosen this abrupt reversal in policies,” French charged.

In a response to CNN, Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio said Twitter users will be given the choice to follow Biden.

One Twitter user commented that Twitter was doing Biden a favor by sparing his administration of a mass “unfollowing.”

Biden’s existing channel has included such statements as “In the 21st century, 12 years of school isn’t enough” and “It’s long past time we pay teachers what they deserve.”

And there was a wish for a Merry Christmas from Biden’s dogs.

And he has retweeted comments such as “Trump sucks” from Stephen King and a claim from Andrea Junker that “Trump’s malevolence” cost 332,964 Americans their lives to the COVID pandemic.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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