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Inside Twitter’s Decision to Cut Off Trump

SAN FRANCISCO — Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, was working remotely on a private island in French Polynesia frequented by celebrities escaping the paparazzi when a phone call interrupted him on Jan. 6.On the line was Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top lawyer and safety expert, with an update from the real world. She said she and other company executives had decided to lock President Trump’s account, temporarily, to prevent him from posting statements that might provoke more violence after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol that day.Mr. Dorsey was concerned about the move, said two people with …

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Millions Flock to Telegram and Signal as Fears Grow Over Big Tech

Neeraj Agrawal, a spokesman for a cryptocurrency think tank, has typically used the encrypted messaging app Signal to chat with privacy-minded colleagues and peers. So he was surprised on Monday when the app alerted him to two new users: Mom and Dad.“Signal still had a subversive shine to it,” said Mr. Agrawal, 32. “Now my parents are on it.”On Telegram, another encrypted messaging app, Gavin McInnes, founder of the far-right Proud Boys group, had just announced his return. “Man, I haven’t posted here in a while,” he wrote on Sunday. “I’ll be posting regularly.”And on Twitter, …

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YouTube Suspends Trump’s Channel for at Least Seven Days

OAKLAND, Calif. — YouTube said on Tuesday that it had suspended President Trump’s channel over concern about “ongoing potential for violence,” the latest move by one of the large technology companies to limit the president online.In a post on YouTube’s official Twitter account, the Google-owned video site said it had suspended Mr. Trump’s account after one of his recent videos violated its policy for inciting violence.That meant Mr. Trump would not be able to upload new content to his channel, which had about 2.8 million subscribers, for at least seven days. YouTube also said it was disabling …

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Fringe Groups Splinter Online After Facebook and Twitter Bans

Just hours after rioters were cleared from the Capitol on Wednesday, there was already discussion about what would happen next on Parler and Gab, another social-media platform that has become popular with the far right.Mr. Trump was expected to take his megaphone to the platforms, and tens of thousands joined those sites expecting him to land there. But by Monday night, Parler was mostly offline. Gab had also become largely unusable, as a flood of new users and downloads appeared to crush the site, making it impossible to search for, or post, new items.Some groups have moved to …

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Twitter Removes Over 70,000 QAnon Accounts

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter on Monday said that it had removed more than 70,000 accounts that promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory in recent days, as the company widened its crackdown on content that could incite violence after barring President Trump from its service last week.Twitter, which carried out the suspensions over the weekend, said it acted to clamp down on posts that have “the potential to lead to offline harm.” It added that many of the users who were removed had operated multiple QAnon accounts, driving up the total number of accounts that were taken down.“These accounts were engaged in …

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Parler Accuses Amazon of Breaking Antitrust Law in Suspending Hosting Services

Parler said losing Amazon’s services would be a “death knell,” though other platforms popular with the far right and conspiracy theorists, like Gab and 8chan, have recovered after being terminated by hosting providers.David J. Groesbeck, a sole practitioner intellectual property lawyer in Olympia, Wash., filed the suit for Parler. Separately, data of Parler users was posted online in a searchable database on the website ArchiveTeam.org by a lone researcher, who goes by the Twitter alias “@donk_enby.”The researcher started archiving all Parler posts on Jan. 6, the date of the Capitol riots, but Amazon’s threat to …

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How Parler, a Chosen App of Trump Fans, Became a Test of Free Speech

Parler grew slowly until early 2020, when Twitter began labeling Mr. Trump’s tweets as inaccurate and some of his supporters joined Parler in protest. After November’s election, Parler grew even more quickly as Facebook and Twitter clamped down on false claims that the vote had been rigged. So many users signed up that, at times, they overloaded the company’s systems and forced it to pause new registrations.In total, people downloaded Parler’s app more than 10 million times last year, with 80 percent in the United States, according to Sensor Tower, the app data firm.Last Wednesday, Mr. Trump …

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Amazon, Apple and Google Cut Off Parler, an App That Drew Trump Supporters

Other platforms that host posts by right-wing influencers, including CloutHub and MyMilitia — a forum for militia groups — adjusted their terms of service recently to ban threats of violence.DLive was pressured by Tipalti, a payment company that helps it operate. Tilpati said in a statement that it had suspended its service until DLive removed the accounts that had broadcast the riots on Wednesday.Such third-party companies that help apps and websites function, from payment processors to cybersecurity firms to web-hosting providers like Amazon, have used their positions to influence how their customers handle extremist or criminal activity. In 2019, Cloudflare, a …

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What Is Dlive? The Streaming Site Growing in Far-Right Users

But when a user changes the settings to allow “x-tagged” content to be viewed, streams with thousands of viewers discussing the riot at the Capitol quickly dominate the home page. In his stream on Thursday night, Mr. Fuentes, who had attracted 20,000 viewers, called Wednesday’s events “a flicker of hope” that “showed what is possible.”Neither Mr. Gionet nor Mr. Fuentes responded to requests for comment.“Everything about this platform is fake,” said Mr. Jovanovic, 34, the longtime streamer. “It’s like a cardboard building that shows Disneyland. As soon as you press on it, it’s death and carnage.”Mr. …

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Roiled by Election, Facebook Struggles to Balance Civility and Growth

SAN FRANCISCO — In the tense days after the presidential election, a team of Facebook employees presented the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, with an alarming finding: Election-related misinformation was going viral on the site.President Trump was already casting the election as rigged, and stories from right-wing media outlets with false and misleading claims about discarded ballots, miscounted votes and skewed tallies were among the most popular news stories on the platform.In response, the employees proposed an emergency change to the site’s news feed algorithm, which helps determine what more than two billion people see every day. It involved …

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