Trump Allegedly Demanded Parler Kick Off His Critics If It Wanted Him On The Platform
from the so-free-speechy dept
There has been a lot of speculation regarding whether or not Donald Trump would set up his own social network or if he’d just join one of the struggling social networks which only seem to exist in order to cater to Trump’s most fervent supporters. Parler, obviously, gets a lot of attention and earlier this year there were reports that, while Trump was still President, he had entered into negotiations to take an equity stake in Parler and then embrace the platform as his preferred social network. As we noted back then, “for whatever reasons, the agreement did not materialize.”
A new book by Michael Wolff suggests one possible reason. It claims that Trump demanded that Parler had to block Trump’s critics from its platform:
One curious point of consideration for the [Trump] family [the morning of January 6th] ? prescient of the events that would shortly unfold ? was a follow-up to a discussion initiated some months before by aides and family. Trump representatives, working with Trump-family members, had approached Parler, the social network backed by Bob Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, far-right exponents and large Trump contributors. They had floated a proposition that Trump, after he left office, become an active member of Parler, moving much of his social-media activity there from Twitter. In return, Trump would receive 40 percent of Parler?s gross revenues and the service would ban anyone who spoke negatively about him.
Parler was balking only at this last condition.
Of course, this is absolutely hilarious for so many reasons. For years, Trump has been whining about how social media shouldn’t be allowed to ban him and his friends, and couched it in (false) claims of supporting “free speech.” Yet, here he was apparently making it clear that he not only wanted active content moderation on Parler, but that the moderation had to be directed at anyone who criticized him.
How very free speechy of him.
Of course, if Parler decided it did want to do this, it could. The 1st Amendment would protect such a decision, and with it, Section 230 would protect it from being sued for such decisions.
I do wonder if this was some kind of reaction to the Knight Institute case that established that, while he was President, Trump couldn’t block followers from accounts he used for conducting official Presidential business. You could see how he (and his associates) might think that a neat workaround to this 1st Amendment conundrum would be an agreement to have the platform do the blocking instead (of course, if Trump were still President, that would present another set of 1st Amendment issues, but thankfully we don’t have to deal with those now).
I am, however, quite excited to see what the crew of Trump-loving folks who show up in our comments think about this. After all, they regularly insist that they really just want social media companies to never ban anyone.