In response to a post by president Donald Trump, social media platform Twitch announced that it would suspend his channel to combat hateful speech. This appears to be a slippery slope that might culminate in the permanent ban of the president’s account.
Twitch is owned by Amazon, who announced that Trump’s most recent posts were a major violation to the platform. The company pointed to a re-posted stream from President Trump’s 2015 campaign wherein he made comments about Mexican immigrants being responsible for the proliferation of rapists, criminals, and drug dealers in the country. Another was in relation to his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally where the President spoke about breaking into someone’s house at 1 AM.
This caused Twitch to speak out against the president saying that his posts were in direct violation of the platform’s rules regarding code of conduct. Therefore, they would temporarily suspend president Trump’s account as a result of his “offensive” and “hateful” content. There’s no telling how long the suspension will last as no clear communication has been released about that.
Twitch is just one of many social media platforms that are taking such action against what it deems to be “hate speech.” Recently, a number of companies have taken issue with President Trump’s posts and those of his supporters, with Twitter labeling his content, Snapchat halting all promotion of the President’s account, and Reddit officially banning a community called “The Donald” on its platform.
Twitch took it a step further by removing the President’s ability to post on his account so that he couldn’t share any videos on the platform. This harkens back to a similar incident in 2017 where Trump’s accounts were once again suspended, particularly having his Twitter account disabled by what appeared to be a rogue contractor.
Contrary to what other social networks are doing, Facebook has decided to be a beacon for free speech by not policing it. The tech giant announced last week that its newly updated hate speech policies would only include small tweaks relating to “newsworthy” political figures who violate the rules. However, the labels they’ve used are quite vague and don’t really explain what constitutes hateful or inaccurate speech.
Twitch is a platform that’s very popular with gamers and has recently come under scrutiny for allowing “hateful rhetoric.” Numerous streamers have accused the platform of not regulating sexist or racist comments harshly enough. In response to this, the company decided that it would place permanent suspensions on several user accounts in order to reduce the amount of assault and sexual assault allegations that were mounting up.
A disinformation expert called Cindy Otis noted that Twitch’s move to suspend President Trump’s account would probably encourage other companies to follow suit, especially larger platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
That’s because most of the time removed content is often moved to another platform thus defeating the whole process of removing it in the first place if it’s going to pop-up somewhere else.