When Businesses Become Political: Are Facebook and Twitter Right in Banning Trump?

Why Facebook and Twitter Banned Trump Permanently and Have They Gone Too Far?

More often than not, businesses like to keep themselves above the fray when it comes to involvement in politics.

Indeed, one of the key criticisms levelled against American corporates is that they lobby with both parties and donate generously to them in order to stay on the “right side” of whoever is in power.

However, there are times when businesses become political and business leaders have to get entangled in political power games.

One such instance that happened in recent days is the banning of Outgoing President of the United States, Donald Trump, by Facebook and Twitter.

While the ostensible reason was Trump’s role in “inciting” the violent mob which stormed the Capitol Hill, the seat of legislative power in the United States, there is more here than meets the eye since Trump has been effectively using Facebook and Twitter for Donkey Years to spread hate and encourage his followers to do so likewise.

Some critics allege that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter banned him permanently rather than suspending his account temporarily only to Curry Favour with the Democrats who now control the legislature.

On the other hand, there are those who believe that this ban could not have come sooner and they are relieved that it is a case of Better Late than Never.

Why what comes next is entirely unpredictable and how The Dice Have Been Rolled

Whatever be the stance taken and whoever may be the person who is arguing for or against this decision, the fact remains that this is perhaps the first time in the history of Corporate America where business leaders had to take an overtly political decision.

After all, Donald Trump is a sitting President who managed to garner 75 Million Votes and who has a dedicated and loyal follower base that would do anything to please him.

Therefore, by banning him, Facebook and Twitter are not only inviting the Wrath of the Republicans but also the majority of his followers.

Indeed, one presumes that Zuckerberg and Dorsey had weighed the consequences of such bans for the longer term sustainability of their businesses as Trump might return as President in 2024 and what more; Republicans might stymie their businesses through their power in the Congress and Senate.

Moreover, by banning him permanently, both Facebook and Twitter have rolled the Dice and what happens next is something that is almost entirely unpredictable.

Why the Ban Could Not Have Come Sooner and What Would be the Likely Consequences

Having said that, those arguing in favour of the ban say that it could not have come sooner as after all the storming of the Capitol Hill represents the Crossing of the Rubicon by Trump and his followers and hence, by doing so, he has taken the issue to a Point of No Return.

For this alone, Facebook and Twitter have to be lauded as further airing of Trump’s views on these platforms would only exacerbate the situation and lead to a Civil War scenario.

Moreover, they are also bound by law to not abet and aid in the propagation of Hate Speech and Overt Calls for Violence.

In addition, there is the aspect of a conscientious decision since people’s lives are at stake and no business leader worth their values would even remotely think of being complicit in inciting violence.

Indeed, this decision might represent a Turning Point in the way in which businesses enter the political fray and perhaps, would lead to more such actions by not only Big Tech firms but by other Corporates as the United States grapples with the aftermath of the Trump Era and a rupture in the Bargain between Big Business and Republicans.

When Business and Politics Collide, Business Leaders Have to Take Tough Decisions

This whole issue brings to the fore the larger questions about how Businesses should act when faced with Political Decisions.

Should they go by the Law and their Policies alone or should they also take into consideration the Political Consequences?

In the present case, while there is nothing to suggest that Zuckerberg and Dorsey went by anything other than business and legal and procedural considerations alone, there is also something that is beyond the pale in this decision as this is unprecedented.

Of course, what makes this decision unprecedented is that for the first time Big Tech was under extreme pressure to act and this is the reason many lawmakers are now contemplating more regulatory action and oversight so as to not leave it with so much power.

Indeed, if two individuals can decide who reads what and how the entire world can be controlled to read only those posts and tweets that are deemed acceptable by them, then it is high time we looked into how so much power came to be vested in so few people.

Moreover, when business and politics collide rather than intersect, it is also time to set the boundaries and minimize friction between them.

The Bargain between Business and Politics

Last, this is also a wakeup call for the rest of the Corporate America as most business leaders were happy to indulge Trump as long as the markets were booming and they got their Tax Cuts.

Perhaps it is now clear that American Big Business might evaluate whether profits are the only thing that matter or they have a larger responsibility to society and the general public.

Indeed, business leaders would be confronting more such decisions as the Republicans would turn the screws on them and the Democrat controlled legislature would also be doing the same from the opposite side.

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