Abhishek Thakore

May 10, 2021

2 min read

Agree to disagree

I disagree with Twitter suspending Trump’s account.

I agree that

- His account was a nuisance evoking people to riot.

- Twitter accounts have terms and conditions which were violated.

- As a company, Twitter is free to do what it pleases with its accounts.

- In a civilized society there is no space for hate speech either.

I have broadly thought about these points as I formed my view.

In the short term it is probably the right thing and the only choice.

But overall, it concerns me on three dimensions.

a. Power of Big Tech

I see this as an exercise of power by big tech. We haven’t been able to break up these large corporations. At the very least we have to treat them like public utilities whose actions have more serious implications than any other private enterprise.

Few people read terms and conditions, and censorship can easily be justified by them. Should such concentration of power be allowed in private institutions? I don’t think so

b. Freedom of speech

Freedom comes with responsibility and Trump hasn’t shown an iota of that. However I don’t see Trump’s voice belonging to him alone. To pin down these issues to one person is very simplistic.

Trump represents the voice of a substantial minority of Americans. Silencing one handle that was voicing this view will only mean millions of bitter hearts who will continue spreading hatred.

The responsibility of what is a lie and what is a truth, and taking provocative speech in a mature way belongs to the society.

c. Attacking the symptoms

Trump and the riots are a symptom of a deeply fragmented and hopeless society. It is coming from a world where centralized power cannot deliver (and hasn’t been able to). It is us not being able to honour the dreams that we seed in our coming generations.

If you feel attacking a symptom will heal the underlying divide, that is itself a very reductionist mindset (and a part of the problem)

Each time we favour a short term fix instead of a long term, thoughtful response, we weaken the fabric of tomorrow.

I must close this post saying I am open to change my mind on these and looking to meaningfully dialogue. I won’t be replying to every comment on this post.