President Donald Trump has been causing problems for many tech giants by amplifying violence in his social media posts. Instead of siding with protestors and standing up to eliminate the ingrained racism, he issued warnings and threats to the protestors. Is there any responsibility on the tech giants to speak up in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and mass US protests?
A multimedia messaging app Snapchat stopped promoting Donald Trump’s account for his questionable posts on other platforms. The app thinks that the President supports racial violence and injustice. His statements were against the community guidelines and policies of most companies but sadly only a few were able to take action.
What Are Tech Giants Doing About It?
Snapchat is not the first organization to condemn Trump for his actions. Twitter also flagged a couple of Donald Trump’s tweets for fact-check purposes. In response, Trump threatened to shutdown the entire social media platform which was probably not taken very seriously by the tech giants.
However, the current situation surrounding mass US protests is very serious. The most dominant tech giants may have been feeling obligated to regard the status of presidency but many people would expect them to play a key role in eliminating this virus of structural racism in America because their elected president clearly has a different agenda.
Response from Twitter
Besides the fact-check flag, Twitter has hidden one of the President’s tweets which included the shooting threats. However, Trump’s account is still active and he is still able to share any content. While the protesters and police were battling with each other, Mr. Trump uploaded a video as a tribute to George Floyd. That video contained the narrative by Donald Trump in which he referred to George Floyd killing as a grave tragedy that should have never happened. However, after just a minute, the video takes a political turn and rants about some political left-wing groups terrorizing the innocents.
Twitter took action against that video under the Digital Millennium copyright act after a copyright claim; which was not further discussed. Twitter left the post up and just labelled the copyright infringement message in place of the video. It took the same action on another post of Donald Trump which contained the clips from a video of music band Nickelback.
Response From Facebook
The similar threatening statement was posted on Facebook which was not dealt with strictly by Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg insisted that he personally detested the statement but Facebook couldn’t remove it because it will be against freedom of expression on which Facebook stands firmly. Many Facebook employees have expressed their dissent on this statement by Zuckerberg that it is against the ideals of the organizations.
Few employees have even resigned after the company failed to take action against President Trump’s post.
Even if Facebook itself decides to stay quiet on the matter, its employees have decided to voice against racism by leaving the company that won’t take any action against it despite being capable.
Google & YouTube
Google and YouTube also pledged their support with the racial equality and all those who seek it. YouTube has been generous to enable the efforts against racism. However both of them have not taken any action against Trump like Snapchat has, which is relatively a minor player. Moreover, according to past reports, Google is accused of racial discrimination from ex-employees.
Microsoft has also announced to stand with communal harmony by amplifying voices from black people. They posted this tweet along with the statement from one black citizen.
Co-founder and trustee of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ensured her active involvement in working towards racial and gender equality in a series of tweets
Microsoft also did not mention the President’s response to racism or Snapchat’s action against Donald Trump.
CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter to address the murder of Geroge Floyd. He also wrote against the long history of racism and encourages everyone to create change.
On the other hand, Apple also disabled the looted iphones during protests and advised to bring the phone back to the relevant store. They also warned that the phones are being tracked and local authorities are notified.
Response from Amazon
Amazon also tried to join others in support of protests against racism but it was immediately shunned. According to Business insider, Amazon has contracts with law enforcement agencies to provide mass surveillance footage. People are already critical of Amazon due to this controversy so this statement was mere hypocrisy as many people called it out in reply.
Are These Actions Effective?
Tech giants have announced to stand up to racism but the protesters are actually standing up to it. These companies either do not take President Trump seriously or they are afraid of his status. Their minor actions against racism may help in public support but it does not help protesters right now. The protestors seem to be in this fight alone for the 10th day in a row. Tear gas and rubber bullets are causing extreme damages as if law enforcement did not learn anything from George Floyd’s murder case.
Amid all the oppression and police brutality President Trump continues to use his favorite term ‘fake news’ to counter every question that is thrown his way. It may mean that Donald Trump is deflecting the main issue because he does not want to end racism. Still, his accounts on the internet are active and not a single tech giant has suspended or deactivated his account. This is also a discriminatory action from tech giants because an average user’s account would have been blocked for such posts.