Opinion | Evicting Trump From Social Media

To the Editor:

Re “Citing Risk of Violence, Twitter Permanently Suspends Trump” (front page, Jan. 9):

We shouldn’t be too hasty in applauding social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for suspending President Trump at last. The president has been violating these companies’ stated policies for years. But Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey waited until the president’s term was all but over, and his capacity to drive traffic to their sites was on the wane, to pull the plug.

Like Mr. Trump’s cabinet members — who risk nothing by resigning from posts that would have ended soon anyway — the last-minute abandonment of Mr. Trump by social media is a hollow attempt at face-saving.

We tolerate all manner of criminality as long as the perpetrator’s stock is up. In America, the real crime is failure.

Andrew Heffernan
Glendale, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “A Web Haven for Trump Fans Faces the Void” (front page, Jan. 11):

A common critique is that corporations exercise too much power in modern life. Now we know how true that is. By deplatforming Parler, the tech giants Amazon, Apple and Google have demonstrated their desire and ability to suppress any speech of which they disapprove. Parler was created to be a platform for people tired of the unpredictable and biased censorship on Twitter.

People who celebrate Big Tech’s suppression of Parler because it was popular with Trump supporters may find down the road that they are also not allowed by Big Tech to speak their minds.

James G. Russell
Midlothian, Va.

To the Editor:

The recent wave of suspensions of conspiracy theorists (the president himself among them) from Twitter and Facebook set off an exodus of users from these platforms to others like Parler and Dlive. The suspension was the right call to make given these people’s role in contributing to the incitement of the mob attack on the Capitol. That shouldn’t be the end of the story, though.

From Pizzagate to the mob attack, the past few years have time and again shown us the dangers of living in vastly different realities on social media. That’s why it is so important for mainstream media outlets to have a voice on platforms popular with the alt-right and QAnon types.

There’s intrinsic value in providing an alternative, lest we let our worlds drift apart to such a degree that it’s only the physical realm where we meet — by then, all riled up — to settle our disagreements. Do those platforms promise to be deeply hostile, unpleasant spaces to navigate? You bet. But since when has journalism been about pursuing what’s pleasant?

Zoli Csernatony

To the Editor:

The shutdown of President Trump’s social media accounts has given me a severe case of the heebie-jeebies. I hated Mr. Trump’s tweets and other postings, but at least I knew what he was thinking. Now, I have no idea how much trouble we’re in.

William Goldman
Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.

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