Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) expressed reservations about the Twitter ban of former President Donald Trump, saying he doesn’t like the idea of a “handful of high-tech people” wielding too much power.
Sanders made the remarks in a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, in which Sanders was asked about Twitter banning Trump from its platform.
“Do I feel particularly comfortable that the then-president of the United States could not express his views on Twitter? I don’t feel comfortable about that,” Sanders said.
Trump was kicked off the social media platform after the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defending the decision in a series of tweets a week later.
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here. After a clear warning we’d take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter,” Dorsey wrote.
“I believe this was the right decision for Twitter. We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he added.
Trump said Monday that Twitter and Facebook, which also deplatformed him, did him a “favor.”
The former president told Newsmax that he was enjoying his break from social media and that he appreciated communicating with the public via emailed press releases.
“I do press releases,” Trump said. “And frankly, they’re more elegant than tweeting, as the expression goes, they’re really much more elegant and the word is getting out.”
Trump declined to confirm rumors he is planning to launch his own social media platform.
“We have a lot of options and something will happen with social media if I want it to happen,” Trump said, adding that he has “tremendous options” regarding launching a viable social media platform given his large following prior to the ban.
Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Fox News on Sunday that ”I do think we’re going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months here with his own platform.”
While no details are available about what a Trump social media platform would look like, the former president’s championing of freedom of expression suggests it would unlikely to be a space that cracks down on controversial content.
Sanders, in his interview with Klein, said that he did not have a solution for how to balance freedom of speech with policing potentially harmful posts.
“I don’t know what the answer is. Do you want hate speech and conspiracy theories traveling all over this country? No,” Sanders said.
“But it is an issue that we have got to be thinking about. Because yesterday it was Donald Trump who was banned, and tomorrow, it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view,” he said.
Many Republicans and others have accused big tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter of using various techniques to suppress conservative voices and favor left-leaning causes.
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