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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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As Trump Clashes With Big Tech, China’s Censored Internet Takes His Side

After Twitter and Facebook kicked President Trump off their platforms, and his supporters began comparing his social media muzzling to Chinese censorship, the president won support from an unexpected source: China.“Legally he’s still the president. This is a coup,” said one comment, which included an expletive, that was liked 21,000 times on Weibo, the Chinese social media platform.“A country as big as the United States can’t tolerate Trump’s mouth,” another popular comment said. “U.S. democracy has died.”The comments were solicited by Guancha.com, a nationalistic news site, which created the hashtag #BigUSappsunitedtosilenceTrump# on Weibo. …

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Facebook and Twitter Face International Scrutiny After Trump Ban

LONDON — In Sri Lanka and Myanmar, Facebook kept up posts that it had been warned contributed to violence. In India, activists have urged the company to combat posts by political figures targeting Muslims. And in Ethiopia, groups pleaded for the social network to block hate speech after hundreds were killed in ethnic violence inflamed by social media.“The offline troubles that rocked the country are fully visible on the online space,” activists, civil society groups and journalists in Ethiopia wrote in an open letter last year.For years, Facebook and Twitter have largely rebuffed calls to remove hate speech or …

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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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Jobless, Selling Nudes Online and Still Struggling

Savannah Benavidez stopped working at her job as a medical biller in June to take care of her 2-year-old son after his day care shut down. Needing a way to pay her bills, she created an account on OnlyFans — a social media platform where users sell original content to monthly subscribers — and started posting photos of herself nude or in lingerie.Ms. Benavidez, 23, has made $64,000 since July, enough not just to take care of her own bills, but to help family and friends with rent and car payments.“It’s more money than I have ever made in any job,” …

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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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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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Stripped of Twitter, Trump Faces a New Challenge: How to Command Attention

Over the years of his presidency, as controversies and investigations of his conduct began to grow, television became a less reliable safe space. Broadcast networks, pressured to be more aggressive in their approach to him and his aides, asked tougher questions. With the exception of Fox News, cable networks that had rushed to put him on air throughout 2016 and the early stages of his presidency clamped down, cutting back on broadcasting his live appearances in particular.And his adventures in the White House briefing room generally did not go well and revealed the limits of his grasp of policy or …

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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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