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Trump's ban from Facebook, Instagram reignites conversations surrounding social media censorship

Trump administration moving forward in attempt to regulate social media
Posted at 5:09 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 12:18:38-05

Social media censorship has been a hot-button topic throughout President Trump's time in office. The key issue is the information, whether it be true or not, those in positions of power decide to share with the public through these platforms.

"This conversation is ongoing right now. It’s the Wild, Wild West. It’s brand new. Everyone’s trying to figure it out,” said Joe Cutbirth, an assistant professor in Journalism and Communication at the University of Texas in Austin. ”Which is are these social media outlets creators of content or are they simply distributors."

It's a very complex conversation that must be discussed in terms of policies. Social media companies advertise themselves as a space to share content. But when harmful or untrue content is spread, who is at fault? And what is the line between protection and censorship?

”Now these things, the crossings of the platforms, is causing us to have to rethink these things and rethink these responsibilities,” Cutbirth said.

Texas native Brianna Jackson doesn’t believe social media platforms monitoring and taking down content is censorship.

"When you’re the president of the United States or a government official, what you say really does matter,” she said.

Shortly after pro-Trump supporters broke into the Capitol Wednesday, President Trump released a video message through social media saying he understood their but that they must go home. In the video, the president falsely claimed that the 2020 election was rigged.

Moments later, both Twitter and Facebook removed the video and blocked President Trump's ability to use his personal accounts.

”Someone intentionally, in a public position of leadership, intentionally misleads large numbers of people... that have effects on large number of people... then that’s a very different situation,” said Jackson.

Facebook and Instagram announced Thursday they have indefinitely blocked President Trump from using his personal social media platforms for the remainder of his presidency.