BY RAVEN CLABOUGH
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational & research purposes:
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump launched a new communications platform that will allow him to communicate with followers after being banned from social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The rollout came one day before Facebook’s so-called Oversight Board upheld the suspension of Trump’s Facebook account, citing the January 6 Capitol protests.
Supported by Campaign Nucleus, Trump’s communications platform is called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump.” The Washington Times reports that the new site allows Trump to post comments, images, and videos but does not allow users to comment, though it allows users to share Trump’s content to their own social media pages.
“This is just a one-way communication,” a source said. “This system allows Trump to communicate with his followers.”
According to Fox News, Campaign Nucleus is a “digital ecosystem made for efficiently managing political campaigns and organizations” and is the creation of former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller clarified that the newly launched communications platform is separate from Trump’s long-awaited social-media platform, which, like the communications platform, was also teased several months ago.
“President Trump’s website is a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office, but this is not a new social media platform,” he tweeted. “We’ll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future.”
The communications platform rollout came just in time as Facebook’s quasi-independent Oversight Board announced on Wednesday morning that the ban on the former president from Facebook and Instagram was appropriate. However, the board added that it was “not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension,” CBS News reported. The board determined Facebook must create “clear, necessary, and proportionate policies that promote public safety and respect freedom of expression.”
The board said Facebook should take the next six months to review the case and decide whether its ban will be permanent or last a specific length of time, MSN reported.
Facebook was reportedly “pleased” with the board’s decision.
“We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate. In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s accounts remain suspended,” Facebook said in a statement.
It was unclear how the Oversight Board would rule in Trump’s case, with HuffPost claiming the panel has a history of favoring free speech over content restriction, based on its nine previous decisions.
Still, Facebook critics contend the Oversight Board is merely smoke-and-mirrors.
“Facebook set the rules, are judge, jury, and executioner and control their own appeals court and their own Supreme Court. The decisions they make have an impact on our democracies, national security, and biosecurity and cannot be left to their own in-house theatre of the absurd,” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of Center for Countering Digital Hate, a nonprofit critical of Facebook. “Whatever the judgement tomorrow, this whole fiasco shows why we need democratic regulation of Big Tech.”
Gautam Hans, a technology law and free-speech expert and professor at Vanderbilt University, said he finds the Oversight Board structure to be “frustrating and a bit of a sideshow from the larger policy and social questions that we have about these companies.”
“To some degree, Facebook is trying to create an accountability mechanism that I think undermines efforts to have government regulation and legislation,” Hans said. “If any other company decided, well, we’re just going to outsource our decision-making to some quasi-independent body, that would be thought of as ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, Twitter’s ban of Trump’s account in the aftermath of the largely peaceful Capitol protests on January 6 was permanent, with Twitter claiming the account posed a risk of “further incitement of violence.”
“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,” Twitter said in a statement. “In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.”
The platform also permanently deleted the accounts of Trump loyalists, attorney Sidney Powell and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
The treatment of President Trump by social media platforms highlights Big Tech’s hypocrisy. Social-media companies made no such efforts to crack down on any of the accounts of Democrats such as then-Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senator Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), or ex-NFL player Colin Kapernick, all of whom applauded and encouraged the Antifa/BLM violence last summer. So-called comedienne Kathy Griffin tweeted out a photo of herself holding a fake decapitated head intended to look like that of President Trump. She is still on Twitter.
In fact, Twitter’s hypocrisy is particularly glaring. As noted by Voice of America, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei of Iran continues to enjoy virtually unfettered access to the media giant, despite his account’s frequent anti-Semitic, anti-Israel tweets and Iran’s ban against Twitter for ordinary citizens. Even left-wing Slate.com questioned why President Trump’s account would be banned while the Chinese embassy was allowed to continue using the platform to tweet controversial claims such as ones claiming the Uighur women in the country’s Xinjiang region were “liberated” by the Chinese government’s policies and were no longer “baby-making machines.” In these cases, Twitter removes the tweets but allows the accounts to remain.