Social media makes it all too easy for politicians, such as President Donald Trump, to speak their minds to people all over the world with often unedited tweets. President Trump has historically caused controversy with his tweets, and in recent months it appears that now more than ever Twitter users are calling for an end to Trump’s account due to the incredible levels of impact these, what often appear as thoughtless, tweets have.
Earlier this week, Sen. Kamala Harris used her platform to call to Twitter’s attention to the seriousness and severity of the situation that is brought on by various tweets by Trump, specifically those concerning the call to impeach the president. Sen. Harris referred to the tweets as intimidating his impeachment whistleblowers, in hopes that they would be too afraid to continue working against him after he had called them out in an incredibly public fashion. CNN reported that Twitter denied having an ability to suspend Trump’s account, which Sen. Harris suggested they do, due to the fact that it was in no violations of their company’s policies. Twitter upheld that they suspend accounts for strictly what their users write in tweets, not the political or societal implications and consequences that a particular tweet may encourage, meaning Trump had technically broken no rules.
In CNN’s report, they raised the question, what happens if a world leader were to incite violence via Tweet? Could the end of a trade agreement or start of a war, something that has drastic and life-altering repercussions not be worthy of an involuntary account deactivation? Having spent time in Washington D.C. this summer, and having spoken to writers for Politico and NPR about the way that Americans consume media and how politicians interact with the public through social media, their greatest concern was of the complete independence such powerful people have through these platforms. Any speech to the nation by the president goes through tens if not hundreds of White House employees who look over it and make sure there are no holes in an argument, to fact check all data and keep controversy to a minimum. By using Twitter to share his thoughts, however, Trump has complete control over what he says. This is something that can absolutely be seen in a positive light and allows politicians to connect more effectively with the average American and Twitter user, but also allows those with immense amounts of power to send mindless thoughts and ideas out into the world, and not be able to take them back.
When I was in high school and social media first began to get popular my mother always told me that I should never put anything on the internet that I wouldn’t want to be published in the paper. I thought about this every time I would post a tweet or share a picture, now I believe it’s time for Trump to take the same advice.