Lilli Libowitz, Reporter

Through platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, people share intimate details of their lives. Social media allows parents to share baby pictures, activists to plan social justice marches and chefs to post recipes for the best cookies. 

But social media also allows people to spread lies and incite riots. As a society, we have to decide what people are allowed to spread on social media and what the consequences should be if they break these guidelines.

Following former President Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election, Trump used his Twitter account to spread conspiracies about the election. He told his supporters that the election was rigged and not to accept the clear results of the election. These conspiracy tweets played a part in his supporters thinking that they were robbed of democracy and incited the riots on Jan. 5 and 6. Trump even went to the extent of posting a video on Twitter during the riots calling the domestic terrorists “very special” and that he “loved them.” 

After spreading hatred and inciting the riot at the capital, President Donald Trump was finally held accountable for his actions and banned from Twitter on Jan. 8. 

Trump was an active member of the Twitter community and used his account to cover both work and personal motives. If Trump was treated the same as a typical Twitter user, his account would have been banned years ago, as he continuously broke Twitter’s general guidelines.

Twitter has various sets of guidelines for its users including a COVID-19 section. This section has a strict policy regarding the spread of false information about COVID-19. Trump blatantly disregarded this rule by tweeting false statements such as  “99%” of COVID-19 cases are totally harmless” and after being sick with COVID-19, “You get better, and then you’re immune.” 

This tweet tells the American public that a deadly virus that has killed 526,000 Americans is not dangerous. By using his very large platform to spread misinformation, Trump put the whole country at risk. 

Trump implied that his ban from Twitter was a violation of his First Amendment right to freedom of speech. This is an utter misunderstanding of the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from infringing on free speech (with some exceptions). However, the First Amendment does not mean much for social media, since those companies are private institutions that are unaffiliated with the government. 

Simply put, Trump wasn’t banned from Twitter for any of his political beliefs, he was banned for breaking various Twitter guidelines and using the platform as a tool to incite violence.

Trump in no way deserves to have his Twitter account reinstated. Trump did not even learn his lesson as immediately after his private account, @realDonaldTrump, got banned, he tweeted on the official presidential account, @POTUS. Trump revealed his anger in this decision by his angry tweets at democrats, Twitter and Section 230 (internet legislation)  and even went to the extent of saying he would create his own social media platform. This immature attitude and continuous breaking of rules should not be tolerated.

From obstructing his own impeachment search to not releasing his tax returns, Trump is notorious for working around the law for his personal benefit. These are merely a few examples of times Trump dodged the law and received little to no punishments for his actions. Trump is finally held accountable by Twitter for his actions, and this punishment should remain permanent.