Finally, Twitter Suspends Trump

It’s still not enough.

Ever since Trump started sharing misinformation about the election, from mail-in vote to calling Biden’s win fraud, Twitter has had to intervene. But it took this afternoon’s storming of the capitol by Trump’s supporters, and his subsequent failure to condemn their violence, for Twitter to finally act.

According to The Verge, several of the president’s tweets were removed for violating Twitter’s rules. His account is locked for 12 hours and there is a possibility he may be banned permanently, though it’s unclear how serious that threat is. It’s a step, but there’s more to be done.

We are at a crucial moment. The fact that Trump supporters are rapidly devolving into domestic terrorists is loud and clear. Powerful social media platforms like Twitter need to combat Trump’s efforts to rile up and encourage his boldest supporters, and the only way to do that is to take away his megaphone.

The Twitter accounts of people like Trump and Tomi Lahren paint an alarming picture of America: one in which the election has been illegally stolen after Trump’s landslide victory, innocent Americans are forced into economic hardship by a mere flu, and Democrats are working to strip honest Americans of their freedoms.

This isn’t an accurate representation of the country, nor is it anywhere close to the truth, but Trump and Lahren benefit tremendously from reinforcing that perspective among their loyal followers. They sow the seeds of doubt, hatred, racism, and conspiracies through social media like Twitter.

Twitter has a responsibility to help combat the spread of misinformation. It’s why they flag tweets about the election and the coronavirus in the first place. But they need to do better. Lives are on the line. The more that Trump and his people can convince their followers to believe the story they’re selling, the more violence we will see.

A woman died today. Temporarily suspending Trump’s Twitter account just isn’t enough — Twitter has a systematic problem to address.

Science writer wrangling words and horses in the Pacific Northwest. | she/they

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