Between Trump and social networks the idyll is over. One of his chirps was deemed misleading by twitter and then open up heaven! Other tweets have started with which the President of the United States of America accused the social network of interfering with the American presidential campaign now at an advanced stage.
Yet Trump, who has almost eleven million followers on twitter, has always used social networks to communicate directly with citizens, disintermediating the relationship with the press, which he has always considered hostile. And always Trump, like many politicians, invests huge resources on social networks, considered better performing than traditional media.
The problem that now arises is not secondary: because disintermediation with newspapers and television news makes politicians hostage to private companies that can, at their discretion, remove content or report critical issues. In other words, the issue of censorship, which should only be left to the judiciary, has been delegated to social networks that can objectively influence public opinion.
Justifying their decisions with an algorithm, not being held to who knows what explanations: as mentioned, they are private companies, free to publish or not, to remove content, to censor them and even to close profiles. But precisely because private individuals are affected by public choices in terms of company policies, think of the obligation to recognize a fee for publishers for shared content.
The short circuit is clear, the decision maker uses social networks to acquire consent; but then he has to decide on the profitability of the social networks themselves. Or on the individual rights of citizens, in terms of freedom of expression.
Trump’s story causes a sensation, for the name, for the function it covers and for the underlying interests. But the time has come for this issue, essential for the future development of the social and political debate, to emerge from the dimension of tweets and posts to take on the relevance it deserves. Before it’s too late, because civil liberties are being challenged.