De-platforming Trump is not nearly enough considering the role social media played in elevating Trump to the presidency and its part in spreading misinformation, conspiracy theories and calls for violence. Founding Director and Senior Fellow Malkia Devich-Cyril and several of our MediaJustice Network allies talk to The Guardian about what we need to make social media work for us.
“Considering remedies for the proliferation of white supremacist harassment and organizing online requires that society de-colonize our assumptions about racism, speech, dissidence and violence. Content management rules, the rule of law and big tech profits must all be grounded in three underlying assumptions:
1. First Amendment protections are not equally shared across all members of American society. Black, indigenous and other people of color in the US have been historically and structurally censored in law and de facto social norms. The suppression of Black dissent by police violence, for example, has been on increasingly visible display. It is not enough to have the right to free speech; one must have the power to exercise it as well. As a result, simply relying on free speech protections is insufficient to protect everyone’s free speech online.
2. It isn’t simply speech that is being acted upon as the litmus test for social media bans. It’s the real-world impact of that speech. White supremacists aren’t being kicked off platforms because of words, they are being denied the ability to amplify violent racism and organize real world harm.
3. Protecting speech and protecting democracy are equally important but not always aligned. We cannot understand or deal with freedom without also dealing with power and governance.”Malkia Devich-Cyril, Founding Director and Senior Fellow via The Guardian