Last week on Wednesday, January 6, a large group of Trump supporters stormed the capitol as an attack on the 117th United States Congress in an attempt to overrun Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election, with many members of Congress fearing for their lives. This resulted in many of those who were identified as a part of the riot to be put on no-fly lists because this event does classify as domestic terrorism. Many have looked at this event, and Trump’s provocative tweets and believe that what he has tweeted in the past may have influenced his supporters to organize this riot on capitol. Donald Trump Jr. had also posted a video in which you could see members of the Trump family, including Donald Trump (who weren’t wearing masks), watching a live feed of the capital prior to the riot. In response to this, many social media platforms have banned Trump and some posts in support of Trump from their platforms. So far, these platforms include Reddit, Twitch, Shopify, Twitter, Google, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, Apple, Discord, Pinterest, Amazon AWS, Stripe, Okta, and Twilio. Many people jokingly said that Trump would have to resort to using OnlyFans, a subscription–based platform best known for sex work and pornography, as a social media platform. Someone later tweeted a screenshot of an account that appeared to belong to Donald Trump on OnlyFans however that account was taken down a day later and was not affiliated with Trump or his campaign in any way.
After the news of Trump being banned on almost every social media platform in existence, unsurprisingly, you had his supporters outraged, claiming this was in violation of free speech. People on the right like to use cite the first amendment when defending themselves after telling an offensive joke or stating an opinion. However, I believe this is not necessarily what the first amendment protects. The first amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Focusing on the beginning of the amendment, it mentions that “Congress shall make no law” in this specific case to take away one’s right to speak freely. This means that if you were to call out the government for something you didn’t agree with, they are not allowed to arrest you, and it does not mean that a private individual can’t get mad at you for stating an opinion. Back to the topic of Trump’s ban, while his supporters say it is unconstitutional, I would say that this ban does not go against the constitution because these social media companies are not government entities. Others also say that while it was the right thing to do, this ban came a bit too late because that Capitol was already stormed.
Sarah Larson is a Dakota Student Art and Community Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]