Following the incident at the US Capitol in Washington in January, digital companies moved quickly to “de-platform” Donald Trump, a move that may have wounded Trump more than any impeachment could have. Former US President Barack Obama used social media to fire people without cause, settle scores, and even threaten war, as he memorably did in 2017 in reaction to North Korean nuclear testing when he tweeted that the US was “locked and loaded.”
All indications are that he intends to keep his grip on vast swaths of the Republican Party, but he’ll struggle without Big Tech’s aid. And there’s no indication that the social media behemoths will reverse their prohibitions anytime soon. Despite the fact that the former president is obviously an attraction, social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have plainly concluded that his type of incendiary language is simply too harmful — both for the country and for their own businesses.
Twitter issued a thorough statement two days after the Capitol rioting to explain the ban: In two tweets made after the rioting, Trump violated the company’s policy against glorifying violence. One, in which Trump informed his followers that he would not be attending Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, “may also serve as encouragement to those considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a “safe” target, as he will not be going,” according to the report.
Other tech behemoths retaliated by shutting down platforms linked with Trump. Facebook has indefinitely suspended Trump’s profile pending the conclusion of a probe by the company’s new monitoring board.
Don’t point the finger at the stockholders.
Corporations are frequently involved in contentious circumstances, but controversy isn’t limited to having polarising characters on your social media platform. There are numerous cases of businesses taking advantage of tax loopholes or exploiting “gig workers.” They frequently blame “profit-maximizing shareholders” and claim that they are obligated to make these difficult decisions in order to maximise shareholder wealth.
This simply isn’t the case. Most company law systems around the world, in reality, allow management to choose which interests to prioritise when making decisions. They may prioritise the interests of employees, the environment, and society at large, or they could prioritise the interests of shareholders. The idea is that they don’t have to put the latter ahead of the former.
This is unmistakably true in the case of Big Tech. All of the tech companies mentioned above – Twitter, Facebook, and Google – are based in the state of Delaware in the United States. The importance of Delaware is that its courts have recognised that management has the authority to pursue goals other than maximisation of shareholder value.
So, if these digital companies decide to reinstate Trump and his acolytes’ accounts because their removal is harming their business line, don’t trust them when they say, “The shareholders forced us to do it.” The power, according to corporation law, is in the hands of the CEOs.