from the you-know-what-they-say-about-blog-sizes dept
In a few hours, the Oversight Board will announce its decision regarding Facebook’s decision to ban Donald Trump from its platform. As we noted back when Trump was removed from Twitter and Facebook, Trump does not lack in ways to be heard. Indeed, we suggested that he could very, very easily set up his own website with tweet-like statements, and it was likely that those would be shared widely.
And… as we wait for the Oversight Board ruling, it looks like Trump has done exactly that. He’s launched a new blog site that has short Tweet-style posts, and includes simple sharing buttons so people can post the text to both Twitter and Facebook:
It’s not hard to see how that… looks quite like his Twitter feed. For what it’s worth, a friend notes that while you can “like” Trump’s new missives, you cannot unlike them once you’ve done so (this is a metaphor for something, I’m sure).
The messages on the site go back to March 24, even though the site was just launched today, so it makes you wonder if this is the infamous rumored result of Trump writing down “insults and observations” that he would have said on Twitter if he still had an account.
In a video he currently has posted to the top of the site, announcing the site, Trump says that it will be “a beacon of freedom” and “a place to speak freely and safely” (whatever that means). It’s unclear if they just mean for Trump himself, or if this is the rumored first pass of his own social network.
Either way, if he doesn’t let anyone else post to the site, under his own definition of censorship, wouldn’t that mean that he’s censoring everyone but himself? Or, if he does allow others to post, it will be absolutely fascinating to see what content moderation policies he ends up putting in place. The existing terms of service on the site makes it clear that he wants to be able to moderate everything:
Although Save America has no obligation to do so, it reserves the right, and has absolute discretion, to remove, screen or edit any User Content posted or stored on the Sites at any time and for any reason without notice, and you are solely responsible for creating backup copies of and replacing any User Content you post or store on the Sites at your sole cost and expense. Any use of the Interactive Areas or other portions of the Sites in violation of the foregoing violates these Terms of Service and may result in, among other things, termination, or suspension of your rights to use the Interactive Areas and/or the Sites.
It also notes:
Save America takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any User Content posted, stored or uploaded by you or any third party, or for any loss or damage thereto, nor is Save America liable for any mistakes, defamation, slander, libel, omissions, falsehoods, obscenity, profanity or other objectionable content you may encounter…. As a provider of interactive services, Save America is not liable for any statements, representations, or User Content provided by its users in any Interactive Area.
The site also has a long list of content you’re not allowed to publish — much of it that is perfectly legal under the 1st Amendment (even as Trump’s friends have been pushing rules that say only unprotected speech can be taken down):
The Sites may include interactive areas or services (“Interactive Areas”), such as forums, blogs, chat rooms or message boards, or other areas or services in which you or other users may create, post, share or store content, messages, materials, data, information, text, graphics, audio, video, or other items or materials on the Sites (“User Content”). You are solely responsible for your use of such Interactive Areas and use them at your own risk. By using any Interactive Areas, you agree not to post, upload, transmit, distribute, store, create, or otherwise publish to or through the Sites any of the following:
- User Content that is unlawful, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, indecent, lewd, suggestive, harassing, discriminatory, threatening, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, abusive, inflammatory, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading;
- User Content that would constitute, encourage or provide instructions for a criminal offense, violate the rights of any party, or that would otherwise create liability or violate any local, state, national or international law;
- User Content that may infringe any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other intellectual or proprietary right of any party;
- User Content that impersonates any person or entity or otherwise misrepresents your affiliation with a person or entity;
- Unsolicited promotions, advertising, or solicitations;
- Private or personally identifying information of any third party, including, without limitation, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers;
- Viruses, corrupted data or other harmful, disruptive or destructive files; and
- User Content which violates the terms of any Save America guidelines, policies or rules posted on the Site or otherwise provided to you; and
- User Content that, in the sole judgment of Save America, is objectionable or which restricts or inhibits any other person from using or enjoying the Interactive Areas or the Sites, or which may expose Save America or its users to any harm or liability of any type.
On the whole, though, this is a good thing. I’m glad that Trump has set up his own site (no matter what happens with Facebook). More people should do that themselves as well, and recognize that then you get to set your own moderation rules and your own system, and don’t have to deal with not violating someone else’s rules. But it also shows how Facebook and Twitter removing him wasn’t censorship — it was just them saying he needs to find somewhere else to speak.