We cannot deny that social media platforms have a massive impact on society, especially those platforms that have millions of users. The way they choose to act and conduct their policy can have serious consequences, which is why they take this seriously, and constantly update those terms of service and regulations. Recently social networks took a stand or a side sort of speaking for what they believed was right, or for something they wanted to do for their own reasons, we will never know. The event I am talking about is presidential elections in the US, or more specifically riots caused by those elections.
Should politics be allowed on social media?
In all honesty yes, it is an important topic and people should have a healthy discussion, the problem is when that discussion grows out of proportion and evolves beyond a civilized dialogue. However, the issue here is because it feels like some of the social networks took a side, which understandably upsets people. On this, we can all agree that if a platform wants to embody the virtues of free speech then it should not play favorites or ban users who think otherwise, regardless of what management thinks. Moreover, there are people who might bet on elections, and when influential forces that should be neutral interfere they can technically affect their odds, although this could be a topic all on its own.
Platforms need to be responsible and promote positive values
We also need to examine this from a different perspective before we simply accuse Twitter of choosing sides. Users can be suspended for multiple reasons, and their political views are not always relevant. Think about Twitch, all of the streamers are actually responsible for their community and how they behave, which is why they also have great power to moderate members of their community.
This means that they have strict rules and although a lot of people don’t like it, Twitch has every right to take a stand for what they believe is right as a company, and that has nothing to do with modern political views, it has to do with behavior and culture their users are cultivating on their platform.
If the presence of one user has an effect on how others act, and if that behavior does not align with the values the platform stands for, they have every right to ban the user. This brings us back to the first statement about politics on social media. When you introduce politics into some discussions you add an additional layer of conflicting opinions, and when you have a large user base the political arguments will definitely come to the surface. This is why when authority has to act in accordance with regulations, they are accused of taking sides. It is for these reasons that a lot of organizations don’t allow political content to be a part of events or competitions they organize.
Still, it’s important to remember that all of those networks did pay a price for the way they acted. A lot of users decided to delete their accounts and migrated to other networks. This clearly shows that maybe acting always in the border of your own terms of service is not the best approach, that some situations may warrant a different solution.