By KIM BELLARD
Well, you’d have to say that the past week has been interesting. It’s not every week that Joe Biden “officially” won the 2021 election, again, as Congress certified the election results. It’s not every century when the U.S. Capitol is overrun by hostile forces. And it’d never been true before that Twitter and Facebook banned President Trump’s accounts, or that various tech companies belatedly acted on the threat that Parler poses. Oh, and we hit new daily records for COVID-19 deaths (over 4,000) and hospitalizations (over 132,000) in case you’d forgotten there is still a pandemic going on.
Yes, all in all, a very “interesting” week.
I’m going to skip talking about the horror that was the Capitol insurrection, in part because I fear that we’re going to find out more details that will make it clear that it was even worse than we now know. Similarly, I’m not going to dwell on the shame that Republicans should feel about the fact that two-thirds of their House members still voted to object to certifying the election results even after they’d been forced to flee from the terrorists who sought that very goal with their violence.
Instead, let’s talk about “free speech,” and the social media platforms that helped foster the violence and are now trying to do something about that.
President Trump had been making outrageous, often incendiary, usually false statements on social media for as long as he has used it, going back at least to his birther claims. Twitter started attaching warning labels to many of his tweets during the 2020 campaign, but, despite pressure, Twitter had refused to ban his accounts, as a prominent public figure. But last week it had had enough: “we have permanently suspected the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the