White House discusses Trump address on Big Tech ban

Nandita Bose, Reuters

Posted at Jan 12 2021 01:37 AM

White House discusses Trump address on Big Tech ban 1
A photo illustration shows the suspended Twitter account of US President Donald Trump on a smartphone at the White House briefing room in Washington, US, January 8, 2021. Joshua Roberts, Reuters/Illustration

WASHINGTON - The White House is discussing the idea of having President Donald Trump make remarks on camera on Monday about Big Tech platforms that took steps in recent days to limit his social media reach, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Twitter Inc, Facebook Inc, Facebook-owned Instagram, Alphabet Inc-owned Google, Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc took their strongest actions yet against Trump to limit his reach. They cited the potential for continued violence stemming from the Republican president's posts after his supporters attacked the US Capitol building last week.

However, no decision has been made yet, the source added.

Apple, Google and Amazon suspended Parler - a pro-Trump app where users have threatened more violence - from their respective app stores and Web-hosting services, a set of moves that stand to severely handicap the service.

Parler has 12 million users, and Trump's sons Donald Jr. and Eric are active on it, but it will now have to find a new Web host to replace Amazon to even stay in business.

Immediately after the Twitter ban - a platform the president has widely used since he first ran for office and where he regularly spoke to his 88 million followers and announced policy moves and hirings and firings - Trump vowed he would "not be SILENCED!" and promised a "big announcement soon."

Trump also tweeted from the @POTUS Twitter account shortly after the ban and railed against the tech company, Democrats and a law protecting internet companies called Section 230, and said he was considering building his own social media platform. His tweets were almost immediately deleted by the company.

Silicon Valley companies have frequently tried, often without much success, to go after those peddling harmful content - from election disinformation to hate speech and violent threats - but their actions in recent days have been the toughest so far. 

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