For better or worse, it’s been an interesting past couple of weeks here in the US. I have not weighed in on the domestic terrorist attack on the US Capitol–and let’s just be honest with ourselves here, that’s what this was–or anything to have happened since. Many of the former social media accounts of Donald J. Trump have been suspended, possibly permanently. This is something that really should have happened long ago. Unfortunately, the occupant of the office of president had to actually incite a riot to make it happen. (Twitter, at least, gave “world leaders” a bit more latitude in regard to the rules. I can understand why but the result is still unfortunate.)
A lot of it is very sad. Five people died in the attack on the Capitol that should not have. Our country is probably just as divided as ever. People still think there’s some kind of massive election fraud going on, just because DJT tweeted it (there’s not).
We’re now looking at a most unlikely outcome: for Donald J. Trump to finally be impeached and convicted (post-term). This is only possible since the new Senate will now have a Democratic Party majority (once Vice President Kamala Harris takes office tomorrow). As it stands, DJT is the first occupant of the office to face impeachment twice in one term–something even Andrew Jackson wasn’t able to make happen, and he pissed off a lot of people back in his day.
That part is good, but then there is one that really isn’t. The infamous (anti-)social media site Parler is closer to finding a new home. Parler has been offline since January 12, the day that Amazon booted them off the company’s servers. Google and Apple have already taken the former Parler apps out of their respective online marketplaces. This makes a total of three tech giants giving the Twitter alternative a vote of no confidence.
And I think it is for better that the respectable tech companies in the US give Parler the boot. I support responsible free speech, but not “frozen fruit”. We cannot allow any social media platform to facilitate the type of violence that took place on January 6 and then disclaim liability under the guise of “free speech.” The protections of the First Amendment simply do not stretch as far as Parler’s owners would have us believe. What took place online that led to the riot was thousands of times worse than the proverbial shouting of “fire” in a crowded movie theater. If you abuse your rights to free speech, you are responsible for the results. If you amplify the unlawful or reckless “free speech” of others, as Parler did, you are responsible for what happens as a result.
Parler and the people behind it (John Matze, Rebekah Mercer, Jared Thomson, among others) contributed to the domestic terrorist attacks that took place on January 6. This is unfortunate, but true. I place most of the blame on Donald J. Trump, and possibly others within the Republican party. However, we as a society simply cannot ignore the role of Parler (and possibly other “alternative” social media). Until and unless the problem with the Parler machine is fixed, Apple, Google, Amazon, and any other companies in the appropriate position are fully justified in keeping it locked out and tagged out.