For 11 minutes, President Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account was deleted by a Twitter customer support employee. Many Americans responded to the news by calling the Twitter employee a hero for deleting the account. We believe that the Twitter customer support employee’s actions were not heroic and shouldn’t result in the suspension of the President’s account.
On their last day, the Twitter employee unilaterally decided to make a political statement about the President on behalf of the whole company. Regardless of their opinions on Trump’s policies and political beliefs, the Twitter employee should not take advantage of Twitter’s platform to silence the President. In regards to Trump supposedly violating Twitter’s abusive behavior laws with his past tweets, the company publicly stated that President Trump’s tweets didn’t violate their abusive behavior policies because it was newsworthy or had public interest. To be sure, we do not personally agree with Trump’s twitter use, but we understand its political relevance.
This Twitter employee tampered with the personal information of the leader of the United States, which violates the President’s first amendment rights. Does Donald Trump have the same freedom of speech now that he is the President of the United States? To a certain extent, Yes. This example of online censorship, will fuel the anti-Trump supporters mission to silence the President. This employee’s actions could also potentially effect Twitter’s profits and potential business opportunities with companies. This shows that Twitter’s employees are unstable and cannot separate their personal beliefs from their work. Twitter should take more time in insuring that all employees understand their role and responsibilities at the company. It was not in this Twitter employee’s job description to violate Twitter’s user privacy laws and delete the President’s Twitter account.
The President’s actions in public and online represent the ideals and values of the U.S. to the rest of the world. Today, social media allows Americans and people around the world to interpret the President’s thoughts and beliefs on sensitive topics. To be sure, sometimes Trump’s tweets can become abusive in tone and impulsive. This is a serious issue that diminishes the stature of the presidency. However, Twitter temporarily silencing the President, will only perpetuate the belief that the U.S. is divided. This suspension will create a toxic environment within polarizing Republican and Democratic states. Twitter has revolutionized the importance and role that computer mediated communication plays in the relationship between the President and the American people. Donald Trump needs to realize that his tweets may compromise that relationship. We do not know the true intention behind the Twitter employee’s actions, but we believe this was a reckless and impulsive act that should lead to stronger user information security from social media employees.
This editorial was written by Naomi Wilson based on a Media Milwaukee editorial board.