Facebook and Twitter just figured out Donald Trump’s Achilles heel

Graphic provided by James Martin / CNET

It wasn’t the fact that he has committed business bankruptcy at least four times and bragged about not paying his workers. It wasn’t his tax returns that were finally revealed and showed massive fraud on his property valuations. It wasn’t the fact that his branded university ripped off students and he lost a class action lawsuit against them. It wasn’t the porn star he paid off for her silence when campaigning to become President of the United States. It wasn’t the fact he admitted to sexually assaulting women and justifying it by being a celebrity. It wasn’t that he ‘fell in love’ with a dictator that stroked his ego. It wasn’t his threat to withhold aid to a foreign ally unless they agreed to find dirt on his political opponent. It wasn’t his failure to unite a country during a pandemic that has killed over 350000 Americans. It wasn’t the fact he suggested people inject themselves with disinfectant to kill the coronavirus. It wasn’t that he tried to overturn a legitimate election and his case was thrown out by five dozen federal judges and deemed legitimate by his own Attorney-General and Vice President.

As long as he had a method of reaching millions with his unfiltered rhetoric, he could defend himself from all these incidents by claiming they were fake news or make up some cockamamie story for his followers to bathe in. Almost any other democratically-elected political leader would have resigned in shame at any one of the above infractions.

In the end, it was losing access to social media that forced Donald Trump to capitulate. Within a 24-hour timeframe, he told his followers to converge on Capitol Hill and “Fight like Hell!” and then publicly condemned those same followers and conceded defeat to President-Elect Joe Biden. What happened to make him change his tune? Twitter and Facebook suspended his accounts. You take away an influencer’s ability to influence and suddenly he will kowtow to the social media CEOs.

For most western world leaders, losing access to their social media accounts would not have had such a dramatic effect since they have a degree of respect for journalists and reporters that are legitimately trying to do their jobs. Also, they feel a certain responsibility of honoring the office they have been granted by the people. However, for someone who believes he has absolute authority in a free society and uses social media to embrace that authoritarianism, it is an Achilles heel to take that privilege away from him.

This speaks to a greater problem in that so many people don’t do their due diligence in determining what is truth and what is propaganda. In this sense, the people who run Facebook and Twitter are complicit in making the masses dumber by allowing fringe media sources and extremists to spread their misinformation to millions of people. It finally took a siege on Capitol Hill that resulted in five fatalities to make these CEOs grow a pair and silence the Whiner-in-Chief.

Now that they realize they can make the President of the United States do a 180 degree course correction, perhaps they will react with more vigilance instead of letting a pathological liar run amuck for four years and build an army of minions to do his dirty work.

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