Some brands never recover from actions taken by their leadership, at least within one’s lifetime. When Twitter chose to allow Trump to destroy the truth and attack others in the name of the “public interest,” it forever tarnished its brand.
For years, Trump has used his Twitter bully pulpit as the lead vehicle for spreading propaganda, misleading the public with his spin on real-life situations and in many cases, violating the social network’s own terms of service on hate speech and violence. This propaganda continued through yesterday with Trump’s horrific video response to yesterday’s fascist mob attack on the National Capitol Building during the electoral vote verification.
Now, as we navigate the final days of the Trump presidency, the online world wonders whether closure will see Twitter finally suspend “Trump the Citizen.” Such a move would have traumatic consequences for Twitter, but for many, it would be too late. The damage has been done.
Trump Exposed Twitter’s Hypocrisy
Forged during the Arab Spring and unlike Facebook, Twitter had long enjoyed an egalitarian brand by giving everyone a voice to fight institutional powers and their stranglehold on media outlets. That is, until Trump came along.
Let’s circle back to 2016 when. Twitter growth was flatlining and its stock price had hit new lows. The network was under fire for fake accounts and poor advertising performance. Rumors circled about possible acquisitions by larger tech brands.
The zeitgeist Trump energized the network, and though many users complained that his tweets consistently violated the platform’s Terms of Service, CEO Jack Dorsey hedged his bets and allowed them to continue. One can only wonder if the boost in traffic was simply too good to pass up during such a difficult financial period.
Still, Twitter’s bargain with the devil was made. Hypocrisy reigned and while the Average Joes’ violations of guidelines might foreshadow suspension or even worse, removal, Trump was the Trojan Horse, riding above the Platform’s ethers directly into the White House.