The Director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at SU’s Newhouse School says the suspension of President Trump’s social media accounts shows he is being treated just like any other person on social media. Roy Gutterman says those actions fall under their terms of service.
“Well, we’re not in a court of law at this point and right now we’re just enforcing the terms of the use of service on the platforms. The President, just like anybody else is subject to the terms that these private platforms put forward.”
Some have credited the incitement of the capitol riots to the words of President Trump and his associates at a rally in advance of the riots.
“When investigators go back and look through all of this, it’s just one lie after another and it built up. His followers accepted what he said and acted on it. There was no convincing his followers that he wasn’t speaking what they thought was the truth. It finally came to a head and, again, we saw what we saw. There’s really no way to put it into words.”
Speaking to the crowd, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani called for “trial by combat.” The President also made comments discrediting the 2020 presidential election and telling those present to march to the Capitol Building. Professor Gutterman discusses how these could be viewed as incitement.
“Some of the statements that he made and some of the other speakers made on Wednesday, certainly objectively appeared to encourage some level of violence and action. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to interpret some of those statements that they called to action and then, we saw what happened.”
Gutterman does not see the actions taken against the rioters as an infringement upon their First Amendment rights. He argues that while you do have the right to assemble and speech as protected within the constitution, those rights do not extend to trespassing, bringing weapons to a demonstration or violence.