Over the course of Donald Trump's four-year presidency, many prominent figures including lawmakers and celebrities have called on big tech companies to ban him from social media platforms due to his propensity to post often erratic and incorrect information.
At long last, on 8 January, Twitter permanently suspended the outgoing president's account citing the “risk of further incitement of violence.”
TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit are among the platforms that have since followed suit in re-evaluating their relationship with Trump.
In the past, major tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have come under heavy fire for not doing enough to combat the spread of misinformation and in light of the violence at Capitol Hill last week, many feel that this ban is too little too late.
Social feeds have been a breeding ground for the spread of misinformation throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and on the topic of other major global events, such as Brexit and the US election.
It’s a hotly debated subject, but is regulation really the answer? Or is the onus on education to equip people with the necessary tools to navigate platforms safely?
Moving forward it is clear that big Silicon Valley players will have to continue to monitor misinformation more proactively. The Drum asked our Twitter community for their thoughts.
It comes down to better digital and media literacy being taught at the most basic level. Not sure we can trust the platforms to do this themselves. It needs to be taught in public schools and we also need government-funded programs that teach this skill to older generations too.— Jon-Stephen Stansel (@jsstansel) January 8, 2021
It's tough to say exactly, but at some point there's going to have to be some sort of reckoning that decides whether the onus rests with consumers to recognize what is misinformation, or with producers of fake news to stop putting it out.— Joe Ray (@joeray119) January 8, 2021
Maybe to start there needs to be widespread fact checking and associated penalties— Sydnee Logan (@_SydneeLogan) January 8, 2021
I don’t think it has a simple answer. It’s an effort of all sides involved. I believe the end user is not the main focus anymore. When algorithms can control how information is spread, is scary. That thin line must be addressed.— Ivelisse Arroyo (@IvelisseArroyo) January 8, 2021
This conversation is an interesting one, but IMO can’t happen without a clear definition of misinformation and also of spread first.
A simple typo can misinform, and its spreading may be done by others.— Keith (@SumoFondue) January 8, 2021