Spanish – This is not about Trump; it’s about the precedent of challenging a top government authority. No less than the president of the world’s leading power. Tomorrow it could be someone else. It doesn’t matter what his name is.
On January 6, Congress convened for a session to certify the votes of the U.S. Electoral College. But it was interrupted by mass protests that broke out in the Capitol.
While President Donald Trump has reiterated on social networks his allegations of election fraud – considered subversive by the mainstream media and social networks – on this occasion, he called for peace, respect for the police, and the restoration of law and order.
I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
However, just by mentioning that he maintains his disagreement with the results he has tried to challenge in court, in an orchestrated manner, the four major social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube took action against him, blocking the recent content that the president had shared and temporarily suspending his account on these platforms.
This action is unprecedented. At least not in this direction. At the time of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, the self-proclaimed revolutionary leader was attacking the four main TV channels he called “the four horsemen of the apocalypse.” Now, it is the four main social networks that are jointly attacking the president of the United States.
Appeasing the angry mobs was the obvious intent of Donald Trump’s messages. This decision shows the growing influence of social networks in current politics, to the point of silencing a head of state.
The intervention of Twitter and Facebook, as well as Google, in national and international politics, is an issue that has worried US senators. Even legislators questioned the platforms’ executive directors to reprimand them about their impact on the past electoral process.
Facebook intervened in the Irish plebiscite
And it’s not just the case in the US. When abortion was legalized in Ireland through a plebiscite, Facebook and Google admitted that they restricted access to pro-life information.
Through a social experiment, citizens were informed about the conditions under which abortion was legalized, and many, upon learning about it, were horrified and stated that if they had been better informed, they would have voted differently.
Today, the bias of social networks affects not only political actors but also journalists.
For example, Spaniard Javier Villamor had his Twitter account suspended for sharing content about what happened on January 6 in Washington. Not before his last post was blocked.
The untouchable case of Hunter Biden
This situation would not be so scandalous if it were applied equally. But it is not. Social media took sides in the US election to prevent the spread of information affecting Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
During the presidential campaign, Twitter limited the dissemination of the New York Post‘s report on Hunter Biden’s dealings with Chinese, Russian, and Ukrainian businessmen. This occurred during his father’s tenure as vice president, and with his knowledge, a senate report revealed.
Social networks assumed a judicial role that was not theirs, claiming that the information was false. It later became known that the FBI was indeed investigating Joe Biden’s son for these irregularities.
Because this information was obtained by accessing Hunter Biden’s computer files, Twitter and Facebook claimed that it was illegally obtained information.
However, The New York Times revealed details of the President’s tax returns, and a couple of days ago, the Washington Post reported a call from Trump to Georgia’s Secretary of State. In both cases, the information was obtained in the same way, but suspiciously, there were no objections from social media to the dissemination of this content.
"They actually went so far to censor the New York Post itself to prevent the NY Post from tweeting about their own article.
You can't tweet the story. Twitter is interfering with this election.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 15, 2020
Streisand effect: censorship increases advertising
According to MIT Technology Review, Twitter’s attempt to stop the spread of misinformation set off the Streisand effect. It doubled the attention on the Hunter Biden case.
The Streisand effect is a social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove, or censor information has the unintended consequence of making that information more widely available, often through the internet.
The constant censorship against Trump and his followers by the main social networks has generated the emergence of the most downloaded application: Parler, as well as new media that avoid the bias towards progressivism.
President Trump always ran as the candidate against the establishment. That meant not only the political system but also the mass media, and now, against the growing power and influence of social media that are increasingly biased and challenging.
Trump supported the march that drew one million people, according to Newsmax. He even spoke in front of his supporters who took to the streets of Washington, DC, to protest the election result they denounce as illegitimate. Nevertheless, he repudiated the violence.
In fact, Republican senators who objected to the certification of votes in states where Trump has attempted to contest the election shielded the police from the mob.
Senators like Ted Cruz, who led the action to call on a dozen senators to challenge the election of Joe Biden, called on Trump supporters to stop the violence through social media.
Pro-Trump woman shot in the chest
One Trump voter died after being shot in the chest during the raid on the Capitol. She was a woman named Ashli Babbit, a US Air Force veteran who was a senior security officer during her time in service.
According to her husband, she was a strong supporter of President Trump and a great patriot to all who knew her.
The Metropolitan Police Department announced that an investigation into her death is on-going.
The date of January 6 will go down in history for multiple reasons- the riot in the Capitol is without a doubt the most outstanding, hand in hand with the action of the Republican legislators who challenged the electoral system to invalidate the votes they considered invalid, as well as the action of the social media.
Social media and the power to silence a head of state
And the highlights of this day also include how all the massive social media networks colluded against the head of state. Amid all the tension, instead of allowing the message to reach their voters to invoke calm, they silenced it.
Before doing so, Trump’s call for peace was unusually misrepresented.
From the presidential campaign, Trump stood out for his pro-law and order speech, a stance that challenged his rival, Joe Biden, because in the wake of the protests, looting, and destruction caused by the Marxist organization Black Lives Matter (BLM), the extreme left in the US demanded not only the reduction of the police budget but its destruction.
In Seattle, free zones- free of law and order- emerged, where several teenagers lost their lives in shootings and a conservative protester ended up being killed by a member of Antifa. However, this violence is not made visible by social networks, nor by the mass media, since its political agenda is functional to progressivism, the opposite of the administration of President Trump and his supporters.
The breakdown of the Republican institutionality in the United States is evident, as is the growing power of social networks in terms of that breakdown.
The line between public and private becomes blurred in the face of the 2.0 reality in which we live. Although social networks are developed by private companies, they have become public forums.
As such, they influence politics, and those who make use of these platforms are faced with the reality that this supposed space of freedom of expression and democratization of information is not in practice.