What’s it going to take?
For how long will the outgoing President of the United States be permitted to continue his daily disinformation campaign on Twitter? At what point will the social-media giant’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, say enough is enough?
It has been more than two weeks since the election, and 10 days since the race was called in favor of president-elect Joe Biden, and Donald Trump still has not conceded. His frivolous lawsuits are being tossed out of courtrooms in state after state, and even Republican lawmakers are slowly coming around to the reality that, come Jan. 20, Biden will be inaugurated.
Trump has barely spoke publicly in the last week. He’s doing all his talking on Twitter, where his daily outbursts are met with warning labels, because they are almost all patently false. In just the last few days, Trump has used the platform to claim victory, make multiple false accusations of voter fraud, stoke unrest and settle scores with disobedient cabinet members.
Donald Trump is doing irreparable damage to this nation, and he is using Twitter to do it. He is undermining our democracy, making a mockery of our electoral system and creating conditions for civil conflict. By allowing him free reign, Twitter is complicit.
Since Saturday, Trump has tweeted several times that he won the election when he has clearly lost. He has tweeted that dead people voted against him. He has tweeted that Dominion voting machines switched votes from him to Biden. He has tweeted deceptively edited video clips depicting his supporters being assaulted. He has called American citizens scum. He has encouraged the police to rough up civilians. And he has used the platform to terminate his Defense Secretary and head of cybersecurity.
In a perfect world, we could laugh all this off as just another crackpot firing off obvious nonsense. The problem is Donald Trump has 88.9 million followers. A huge number of them believe everything that comes out of his mouth, and every word that shows up on his Twitter feed, no matter how ridiculous.
Jack Dorsey has the power to end this, and become a national hero in the process. So why doesn’t he? Is he afraid Trump will take his talents to Parler? Guess what. Donald Trump has no loyalty. At the end of the day, he will probably turn on Twitter, just like he’s been doing with Fox News. It’s only a matter of time.
Dorsey has a choice. Wait for the president to leave and take his army of idiots with him, or be proactive and kick him to the curb. Either way, the end result will be the same. But if Dorsey strikes first, at least his legacy could be somewhat preserved.
Twitter is bending over backward to keep Trump on the site. But its warning labels aren’t working. Trump just ignores them and continues to spew his noxious bullshit.
In the meantime, right-thinking Americans now have to deal with family, friends and neighbors who take the president’s tweets as gospel. They legitimately think voter fraud swung the election to Biden. They believe Trump is the rightful winner.
This daily dose of fantasy undermines the very foundation on which we have built our society. We have already witnessed the deleterious effects this kind of disinformation can have when it comes to the virus. At some point, Dorsey needs to put the country’s interest ahead of his own.
And that means taking away the president’s favorite toy.