President Trump met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey yesterday to discuss claims that the social media giant was silencing conservative users. The meeting was supposedly “constructive” — but should social media companies really dictate what’s said online?
Social media conglomerates have been called upon to take a more proactive approach towards social responsibility in recent years. There have been calls to ban hate speech and other inflammatory rhetoric, while some conservative commentators have been subsequently ‘de-platformed.’
It was on this basis that President Trump extended an invitation to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to come to the White House.
President Trump Meets Twitter CEO
Trump and Dorsey met to discuss, in the President’s words, why the platform does not “treat me well as a Republican.” The former has called platforms like Twitter “very discriminatory” in the past — and even motioned Congress to take action.
Although the contents of the meeting were not disclosed, the President tweeted that “lots of subjects were discussed” and that he was “looking forward to keeping an open dialogue.” One of the topics of conversation was also how Twitter could help with the ongoing opioid crisis — the worst in American history.
Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue! pic.twitter.com/QnZi579eFb
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
Should We Really Be Trusting Twitter?
As you can imagine, there is an incredible amount of power a social media company has. Twitter, for example, can shut down an account instantly if it deems it unfit — without any outside recourse.
Whether or not certain conservative commentators deserve social backlash is a debate worth having. However, another more fundamental question deserves an answer: should Twitter have the power to dictate what’s said to begin with?
Twitter, Facebook, and other social media giants essentially have the power to cut off dialogue at their discretion. This is arguably a risk not worth having in a democratic society. In fact, censorship can create the illusion of normalcy — despite there being valid, perhaps even radical, proposals being said by both the Left and the Right. These opinions should be said out loud, for better or for worse, rather than be censored.
Imagining a World of Decentralized Social Media
Blockchain-based systems provide us with an alternative to centralized bodies censoring our speech.
For example, Peepeth — called the decentralized version of Twitter — is an alternative to the current ways social media operates. Instead of having the power to censor, Peepeth keeps a record of everything said on the blockchain. Nothing can be deleted, ever.
Social media conglomerates can delete and censor posts at will. However, through blockchain technology, we can create our own social media ecosystems which may, in due time, uproot the centralized power that currently restricts our speech.
Do you believe blockchain can provide us with an alternative to Twitter and other centralized social media giants? Let us know your thoughts below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter.