Facebook and Twitter have “deplatformed” Trump. In any grievance it’s shrewd practice to focus on just one offence rather than confuse the case with a barrage consisting of all the complaints you could advance. Following that restrained practice, Twitter Inc. drew attention to Trump’s 2 most recent tweets. In their Twitter blog the company declared:
On January 8, 2021, President Donald J. Trump tweeted: ‘The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!’ Shortly thereafter, the President tweeted: ‘To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.’
I found it hard to discriminate between these and all his other tweets, but the post by Twitter Inc. banning Trump provides a short statement that decodes this variant of Trumpian signalling. I provide an even shorter précise here. Trump is really communicating to his more violent followers
1. That I will not attend the inauguration means I still don’t think the election was legitimate.
2. It’s safe for you to target the inauguration as I won’t be there.
3. Calling you “patriots” means your actions (invading the Capitol) were legitimate.
4. Saying we’ll continue the project into the future signals the inauguration event as target.
Twitter Inc. adds the evidence that they can see on their own platform that his supporters are in fact planning attacks on the Capital building at the inauguration.
“the two Tweets above are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.”
This justification for banning Trump from social media platforms provides a good illustration of coding/decoding operations in a situation of conflict. I think Twitter’s case is put shrewdly, and seems right to me.
- Twitter_Inc. 2021. Permanent suspension of @realDonaldTrump. Twitter Blog, 8 January. Available online: https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/suspension.html (accessed 9 January 2021).
- Zuckerberg, Mark. 2021. Post. Facebook, 7 January. Available online: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10112681480907401 (accessed 9 January 2021).