The suspensions of Trump’s social media profiles in January 2021 could have large ramifications for the Brand Protection community.
While the US is no doubt experiencing tumultuous times, the banning of Donald Trump’s accounts has shown that large platforms can:
- 1. Self-regulate, if there is incentive to do so
- 2. Ban users, completely and for life
- 3. Allow or not allow content (such as misinformation and fake news articles leading up to the election)
It’s clear on both sides of the aisle that a question has been raised – how and why do platforms get to choose what content is allowed?
Now with greater scrutiny of the role of social media companies as ‘publishers’ rather than ‘platforms’, regulation of the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube is becoming increasingly likely.
“Silicon Valley’s moves to eject President Trump from social media represent a display of power the companies have avoided making for nearly four years. Now Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and others must reckon with what comes next […] The actions against Mr. Trump and Parler illustrate more starkly than ever the companies’ influence over conversation online […]”The Washington Post (Jan 10, 2021) 
If the tech giants have the capability and willingness to ban Trump for inciting violence, why not counterfeit products? Why not illicit medicines sold through illegitimate channels? Why not items prohibited by the platforms’ own policies?
There is a clear shift in platforms’ policy, with the actions against Trump and Parler (an ‘alt-tech’ microblogging and social networking service) likely to push the US government to act on the significant influence these handful of companies have online. Corsearch believes it is critical that legislative action extends to mandating penalties for facilitating the sales of dangerous/illegal products after receiving notice of infringement.
Platforms have shown that they are willing to monitor and action the content they host; now they need to do it in the name of consumer protection.
 Twitter, Facebook and Others Silenced Trump. Now They Learn What’s Next, The Washington Post (Jan 10, 2021): https://www.wsj.com/articles/twitter-facebook-and-others-silenced-trump-now-they-learn-whats-next-11610320064
This blog was originally published on the Incopro website.