Did banning #45 put an end to the Internet as we know it?

I loathe the forty-fifth POTUS to the point I refused to write his name for the four disgraceful years he was in office; my American “background” is rooted in Boston, so you can well guess what is my leaning when it comes to American politics. I think #45 trampled over the rule of law so many times it’s impossible to count, and he deserved to simmer for the rest of his life in the ignominy of irrelevance, a small inconsequential bump on the road to bettering the world and the United States.

I rejoice that he’s been brought down politically, soundly defeated in a democratic election despite his many attempts to thwart its unequivocal result.

But I don’t think banning him from Social Networks was a good thing.

The “he violated the platform’s T&C” argument rings a bit hollow, as he did so constantly every day since jan 20th, 2017 without them blinking an eye, maybe because at the same time he was contributing to their growth by getting millions on those platforms – why did this violation became to egregious to prompt his banning only now? Because a thousand drunkards ravaged the Capitol? What about Charlottesville, then?

Sorry, but I don’t buy this. I think instead that once the orc had fallen, keeping him on became an overall liability so beware: each of us might face the same destiny if at some point some beancounter in a windowsless office at Facebook or Twitter’s HQ decides we are doing it more harm than good.

But I would like to raise another point.

For years the Social Networks have maintained the stance of “Net neutrality”, in other words, they likened themselves to the telephone line; accordingly, they could not be held responsible for the babblings of lunatics, any more than a telephone company could be held responsible for 9/11 terrorists using their phone lines to coordinate their attacks.

They said they were NOT like newspaper Publishers, who are ultimately responsible for every article that journalists write on their pages or websites, but by banning an unwelcome member they acted exactly like Publishers, choosing what gets published on their platforms. In stark contrast, #45 still has unrestricted use of his phone lines.

I suspect we are witnessing the single most important decision ever taken by web companies and I suspect it won’t be long before Justices in the U.S. and abroad start changing their views on the corresponsibility of user generated content.

Therefore we can expect far more “active moderation” by platforms to avoid billions in lawsuits, and therefore political oversight over such moderation criteria might be mandated. And what about those countries where such political oversight won’t be merely enforcing “civility”?

“In cauda venenum” said the Romans “the poison is in the tail”; after all, it seems #45 has achieved his dream of being remembered forever: if Tim Berners-Lee has birthed the Internet, the Orange Monkey on the very day of his fall, brought it to its demise.

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