Should Twitter Ban President Trump?

One of the many unique attributes of Donald Trump’s presidency is his prolific use of Twitter. President Obama used Twitter, but not in the same ways President Trump is using the platform.

President Trump’s Tweets on Trial

In the last week or so, there has been even more attention directed at President Trump’s use of Twitter than normal, primarily because of what he is tweeting about North Korea and the effects his tweets could have on geopolitical relationships.

Here are a couple about North Korea from the last month or so:

Many Twitter users have noted that these tweets technically violate Twitter’s Terms of Service. How? Twitter’s Terms of Service forbid using the platform to make violent threats, directly or indirectly. Any account that does this may be shut down.

President Trump’s tweets have been interpreted as threats by many including North Korea. Really, anyone with common sense would interpret these tweets as threats, however realistic or unrealistic these threats may be.

So, how did Twitter respond?

Twitter’s Response

This is how Twitter responded on Monday (see full thread):

So, basically, Twitter is not going to ban President Trump from Twitter, despite him breaking the rules, because his tweets are “newsworthy.”

To take this to its logical, unrealistic end, President Trump could theoretically launch a nuclear World War III on Twitter and not be banned from the platform.

A humorous baseball account I followed tweeted this, as Twitter routinely struggles in its quarterly earnings reports:

President Trump being an exception to Twitter rules has upset Twitter users and people in general. So then here’s the question:

Should Twitter Ban President Trump?

No. Twitter shouldn’t ban President Trump from Twitter. They should change their Terms of Service to reflect the unwritten reasons they have allowed him to stay on the platform, which is exactly what they said they’re doing.

Further, and this is going to be an unpopular opinion, I don’t think even normal users should be banned from Twitter for making threats toward other people. I have written about this topic on this blog before.

Obviously, I don’t think making threats on Twitter is good, I just think banning everyone who makes threats on Twitter is an impossible expectation. I think people who make threats should be able to use Twitter because policing every threat on a platform like Twitter is unrealistic and potentially does more harm than good, especially when AI and algorithms get involved (just ask Facebook about that).

The reality is that hundreds of thousands of Twitter accounts are making threats to other Twitter accounts on the platform every single day. In one instance, it may be a friend jokingly threatening to punch another friend in the face if he doesn’t pay him back for the lunch he bought for him. In another instance it may be a head of state threatening nuclear war with another head of state.

Neither user should be banned, I believe, for a number of reasons. The first of which is that the user could just create a new Twitter account with new information and continue making threats as he or she so pleases, so the banning wasn’t really effective anyway.

Another reason is that, if President Trump was banned from Twitter, Twitter would be compelled by its users to go through and ban every single user who has ever made threats to others on the platform, which would be an impossible task.

President Trump and celebrities like him should not be protected from being banned for violating Twitter’s Terms of Service, and nor should President Trump or celebrities like him be more likely to be banned than the average Twitter user for violating the Terms.

Either you ban every single person, famous or not, who breaks the Terms, or you don’t ban any of them. I think the second option is more realistic and manageable than the first.

Further, from a business perspective, Twitter would be silly to ban President Trump from their platform because he has brought more attention to the platform than anything else in its history.

Twitter has their reasons for not banning President Trump. Whatever they actually are, I think they are doing the right thing by letting him stay. If they decided to ban him, they’ve be opening up a Pandora’s box of subsequent actions they would be compelled, and I believe unable, to take.

I’m curious what you think. This is just my opinion. I could be convinced otherwise.

3 Reasons You Should Use Social Media

A couple of Thursdays ago, I wrote a post called “3 Reasons You Should NOT Use Social Media.” You may be wondering though, “Are there any good reasons to use social media?”

Yes.

Today, we’re going to look at three reasons you should consider using social media.

1. It can help you serve others.

In my day job, I help authors better reach and serve their audiences with blogs and social media platforms.

One of the most common hesitations I hear from authors when I first talk with them about being more active on social media is, “I just don’t want to be too self-promotional.”

Music to my ears.

For all authors, musicians, or anyone else who has something to share, the time for self-promotion will come, and for many of us, that time is incredibly uncomfortable.

Social media is a platform to build relationships; it is not a place to construct a billboard or run advertisements about how awesome you are all the time. An online presence completely devoted to self-promotion is not only annoying—it’s ineffective. No one wants to buy the music of the artist or the book of the author who clearly lacks the self-awareness to realize he or she looks foolish on social media.

I am a firm believer that everyone should have a blog and be active on social media. I believe God has gifted all of us with something to share with others.

Are you an amazing cook? Create a cooking blog and teach others how to do what you do so that they can bring joy to people through cooking.

Are you a gifted graphic designer? Create video tutorials teaching others how to learn your tricks so they can serve their churches or employers with a new skill.

Did you master the piano at a young age? Share your story and some tips for how others can get started so that they can show people the beautiful sounds an instrument can make.

I have learned so much over the years via social media from people I have never met in real life. How might the Lord have you use Facebook or Instagram or a blog to serve others and bless them with the gifts he’s given you?

2. It can help you encourage others.

Christians, social media is where nuance goes to die. Until the last year or so, I would regularly engage in Twitter arguments about various issues from theology to sports, but then I finally realized the futility of a social media (specifically Twitter) argument.

Part of the reasons I deleted politics from my digital life is simply because I remain unconvinced that constructive political dialogue can take place on social media, and I needed less of it in my life.

All of this is to say: social media can be a place we, as Christians, intentionally encourage others, rather than discourage others with critical words or hurtful arguments.

How might the Lord have you use Facebook or Instagram or a blog to serve others and bless them with the gifts he’s given you?

Again: social media is where nuance goes to die. Thankfully, words of encouragement require little nuance—you don’t often have to caveat or provide evidence for the words of encouragement you speak to someone.

Arguments require nuance, evidence, and much explaining that simply does not work well in a digital environment where body language and tone cannot be discerned.

Opportunities for offense and misunderstanding abound online, which is why we should pursue a social media culture of encouragement rather than strife.

Christians, we can’t change the whole internet, but we can improve the atmospheres of our little sections of it.

3. It can inspire you to action.

Mark Zuckerberg wrote in his latest Facebook manifesto a few weeks ago that he wants Facebook to motivate more people to action in the future, serving their communities because of something they saw on Facebook.

Movements that have shaped the world forever have started because of social media—see the Arab Spring from a number of years ago. Regardless of what you think about it, the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement was very much supported by social media.

Use social media to encourage and equip more than to provoke to promote.

But even beyond “activism,” social media has the ability to inspire us. So often I am motivated to become a better writer or thinker,  or even learn a completely new skill because of how other gifted people on social media inspire me to learn and grow.

I started blogging because I saw other people doing it when I was in the eighth grade and I thought it was so cool. Since then, blogging has changed my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the tinkering around I did when I was in middle school and high school.

In short, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, social media should be avoided by many of us because of particular temptations we have to sin in certain ways. But, social media is a neutral force—it is not inherently good or bad for us. I think, because of our sin, social media often tends to highlight our weaknesses more than our strengths, but I think a lot of good can be done on social media too. And that’s the case I hoped to make here.

Use social media to encourage and equip more than to provoke to promote.