The relationship between President Trump and Big Tech companies has been souring for some time, so when hundreds of his supporters stormed the Capitol building last week, assaulting police officers, destroying government property, and interrupting the mostly ceremonial process of the Senate counting electoral votes, the fallout was pretty swift.
Trump wasn't the only high profile politician to get booted off of Twitter following the Capitol attack. Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell were both permanently nixed after promoting Qanon conspiracy theories about baseless election fraud. Twitter also targeted people like Ron Watkins who runs the message board 8kun (the revival of 8chan) where Qanon conspiracy theorists have been allowed to propagate misinformation.
"We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great... Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete."
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
In addition to taking action against Trump, Facebook says it has also been searching for and removing content that praises the attack on the Capitol or any content calling for more violence or violating a curfew in Washington D.C.
Google also joined in on the Parler crackdown by removing the app from the Google Play store, urging the app's creators to institute "robust moderation practices for egregious content." Google pointed to Play store guidelines that put onus on platforms to deal with content that may incite violence.
As we covered this past week, Parler has been awash in content calling for violence and played a role in allowing Trump supporters to organize an attack the Capitol. The platform has made a commitment to not moderate content under any circumstance, saying "In no case will Parler decide what will content [sic] be removed or filtered, or whose account will be removed, on the basis of the opinion expressed within the content at issue."
Though Snapchat has received far less attention than other social platforms when it comes to content moderation, on January 6, it also decided to "pause" Trump's ability to post. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat did not specify exactly what content lead to the decision, but we can safely assume that similar factors applied.
"... we simply cannot promote accounts in America that are linked to people who incite racial violence, whether they do so on or off our platform.
It's worth noting that while Big Tech companies have taken action across the board to curb violent extremism in the wake of the Capitol attack, critics have accused the actions of being too little and too late. After all, platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been well-documented breeding grounds for misinformation and have even been connected to radicalization.