Saturday, July 07, 2018
Trump wants Twitter to remove major newspaper accounts; dangerous implications
Emily Stewart of Vox has a story about Trump’s “demands” of Twitter that might have alarming implications.
Trump supposedly asked Twitter to disable New York Times and Washington Post accounts for what he calls “fake news”. Yet, as Stewart reports, Trump has sometimes interacted with what Twitter has flagged as automated bots and then disabled.
It’s dangerous for a president to make an order like this in jest on a Tweet, because we don’t know for sure that he couldn’t make a real one with an Executive Order. And with his own Supreme Court appointments, maybe SCOTUS would have his back for purely political reasons.
Although Trump has been gratuitous in his early morning use of Twitter, before his inauguration there was plenty of speculation that he could try to shut down a lot of Internet functionality on national security grounds, as I covered. That died away. Back in December 2015 he had called for shutting down most of the Internet altogether. Before his election, he hadn’t used computers much and didn’t like them, Manipulation of the loyalty of people was the only thing that mattered to him.