The Platform


Many social media platforms have permanently silenced Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump’s conduct on social media from undermining, and in some cases, lying about the presidential election results, and his role in inciting the Capitol Hill insurrection has cost him his large soapbox on Twitter, Facebook/Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and other social media platforms.

In a statement published by Twitter last week, the company wrote, “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Some Americans have questioned the legality behind banning Donald Trump from social media platforms and how this affects his First Amendment rights.

“Unfortunately, big tech conglomerates are protected by Section 230 of The Communications Decency Act and have a shield from liability that others are not afforded, making them very powerful to do just about whatever they want,” said Kris Ruby, Chief Executive Officer of Ruby Media Group. “In this case, because they are a private company, they can still choose to allow or disallow speech.”

Section 230 allows for Big Tech companies like Twitter and Facebook to impose their own rules. Ruby, a social media strategist and cancel culture branding expert, said, “In the digital age, these social media companies are clearly the town-square and furthermore, the primary means of Americans’ communication, speech, assembly in 2021.”

Big Tech has also regulated the use of a Parler, an alternative social media platform for conservatives that was increasingly the home of QAnon followers and the far-right, many of the same individuals who stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Just this week, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores, leaving users with no possible way to use the app on their smartphones. Parler has been unable to find a reliable web host and cannot regain the trust of users who fear their data may have found its way to law enforcement following the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“We learned a key lesson this week from Parler – if you want to build an alternative model, that model must include owning every aspect of the social media app from the ground up,” said Ruby, who appears regularly on Fox News. “Without full control over servers, hosting and every component of the platform, you are at the mercy of cancel culture tech conglomerates who can ultimately decide to pull the plug on you at any time.”

Before Parler got the boot earlier this week, reports circulated that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior advisor, and son-in-law, convinced him to not join Parler after he couldn’t get any messages out to his supporters on Twitter.

Many have questioned what is next for Trump, once he is out of office. How will he get his message out?

“He might try to create his own platform,” said Ruby. “But the larger question here is not what Trump will do next with social media – rather, it is – what will happen next with social media platforms in general and how will this shape the next ten years of platform growth?”

Ruby reiterated that building a new platform comes with challenges. “If you want to build a sustainable social media platform, you must build it from the ground up so that it has an enduring capability that is insulated…But you need to own the ecosystem to replace it, not just parts of it,” added Ruby.

Now with another threat of violence in the U.S. around the time of Joe Biden’s Inauguration, many people are arguing over the difference between silencing one side of the aisle and condemning the violence from last week. Ruby believes that there is a distant difference between the two.

“Bottom line, healing, and unity doesn’t start with kicking people off a platform you disagree with. It starts with tolerating alternative opinions with civil discourse (and no calls for violence),” said Ruby. “What happened last week never should have happened, period.”

Benjamin Schiller is a graduating high school senior in Boca Raton, Florida. Benjamin plans to attend Syracuse University in the fall with a major in broadcast and digital journalism.