Only Twitter can end the Trump era

So if it’s January 21, 2021 and former President Donald Trump starts tweeting, the tweets will make the news. They will likely continue to make the news for a long time to come. Those slow news days may be years off.

There is, however, another way. Citing basically the same logic of inherent presidential newsworthiness, major social media platforms have declined to oust or punish Trump even when his posts violate their terms of service. “Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions,” Twitter said in a 2018 blog post.

This is why @realDonaldTrump will never be shut down while its owner is in office, though he posts content that would get an ordinary user banned. I’ve argued against removing the president from Twitter for exactly this reason, also suggesting a ban in the run-up to the election would give Trump a compelling narrative of Big Tech collusion with Democrats to censor the right.

If Trump is no longer president, neither of those cautions apply.