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article imageOp-Ed: Trump vs Twitter — A fight he can’t win

By Paul Wallis     May 27, 2020 in World
Washington - Even if you ignore the fact that Trump’s presence on social media was his ace card in 2016, attacking Twitter is a pointless exercise. Everyone on Twitter is subject to their terms of service and policies. Trump is no exception.
The latest threat to “shut down social media” is truly bizarre, though. For example - Trump made allegations against mail fraud that hasn’t happened, accusations against some guy called Scarborough, and more, and not a single fact has emerged to support one word he’s said. I’m surprised defamation action hasn’t been taken. He referred to this guy as “Psycho Joe Scarborough”, and truly annoyed a lot of people in the process.
It’s a matter of opinion if Trump really understands his Twitter base. He has 60 million followers, according to folklore, but that’s not the whole story. Followers of Trump include:
• News media, lots of them.
• Political opponents.
• Foreign governments, particularly hostile governments
• DOW and NASDAQ analysts
• Actual followers, presumably hanging on every word.
Trump actually tried to block his own followers a few years ago, and the court ruled that he couldn’t.
He usually gets around 170K user likes at the top of the scale, and much lower for other Tweets. That’s pretty inconsistent, and very dubious in terms of “ready-made likes”, a big no-no on any social media platform.
This mindless attacking of all critics and anyone considered “an enemy” has been standard procedure for Trump since 2016. He’s used Twitter for policy, random subjects, diplomacy, and practically everything else. He typically generates a headline with each Tweet. Now he wants to shut it down, in an election year?
The legal issues, sort of
Legally, a “shutdown” even if it is possible, would probably generate the biggest class action in history. These companies are worth billions. They won’t just sit there and be shut down.
Whether or not there’s any legal power to shut them down is another matter. Is there a license to cancel? Is there some sort of statutory power to shut them down? I doubt it. Would American media react kindly to shutdowns according to Presidential whims? Not very likely, is it?
Trump has also been howling about “left wing bias” in social media like Facebook. This is the usual conservative response to criticism of any kind, straight out of the Joe McCarthy Big Fun Playbook. (McCarthy was the one who started the Red Scare, got a lot of people blacklisted, and was eventually booted out of office. Most of Trump’s basic rhetoric and actions are McCarthyism incarnate.)
The fact that so many people react so consistently to right wing trolls and utter garbage, and so many fake accounts have been discovered, of course, is neither here nor there in Trump’s “mind”. Again, there’s no legal basis for this drivel. First Amendment wins, every time.
The political bot factor
Politicians use bots to “spread the word” around the world. Social media is hammered with this crap routinely. This is spam by any possible interpretation, self-serving and hardly “social”. Social media is for real people, not bots.
The fact that so many politicians use social media, however, also means that shutting them down would basically sabotage political social media presence. It’s unlikely that anyone on any side of politics would be too thrilled.
America the unrecognizable
This is America, 2020 after four years of Trump. A pandemic with 100,000 dead Americans. An endless witch hunt against critics and opponents, regardless of the First Amendment. Allegations without any factual support and no charges being laid. No due process, just some born-privileged guy’s neurotic, mean-spirited self-obsessed babblings.
So, tell me, America – Are you great again yet?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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