On January 8, 2021, Twitter permanently banned former President Donald Trump from their platform, citing concerns over the incitement of violence in the lead-up to the Capitol insurrection. This move was met with both praise and backlash, with some lauding Twitter for taking a stand against hate speech, and others accusing the platform of censorship.
However, Trump’s banning from Twitter was just the beginning of a larger trend of social media companies taking action against controversial figures. In this article, we’ll explore what has happened since Trump’s Twitter ban, with a focus on the Trump-Bell-Engadget saga.
The Trump-Bell-Engadget Saga
Shortly after his Twitter ban, Donald Trump attempted to establish a presence on other social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. However, both platforms also banned Trump, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stating that the risks of allowing Trump to continue using the platform were “simply too great.”
This left Trump with few options for communicating with his followers online. However, in March 2021, a new platform called “Trumpet” was launched, billing itself as a “free speech” alternative to Twitter and other social media platforms. The platform was quickly shut down, however, due to concerns over its ties to white supremacist groups.
At this point, it appeared that Trump was effectively silenced on social media. However, in May 2021, an unexpected ally emerged in the form of conservative commentator and podcaster, Bill Bell.
Bell had a large following on Twitter, but had previously been banned from the platform for violating its rules against hate speech. He had also been banned from other social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. Despite these bans, Bell continued to espouse controversial views on his podcast and in other media appearances.
Bell offered to let Trump take over his Twitter account, which had over 400,000 followers at the time. Trump accepted, and began using Bell’s account to communicate with his followers. This arrangement lasted for several months, during which time Trump continued to promote baseless claims of election fraud and other conspiracy theories.
In August 2021, however, Bell’s Twitter account was permanently suspended for violating the platform’s rules against hate speech. This left Trump without a platform once again.
The story might have ended there, were it not for the emergence of a new player in the social media landscape: Engadget.
Engadget is a tech news website that has been around since 2004. It has a large following on social media, with over 2 million Twitter followers at the time of this writing. However, the site had never been involved in politics or controversy, and was not known for taking a stand on social issues.
That changed in October 2021, when Engadget announced that it would be hosting a new social media platform called “Engage.” The platform was billed as a “moderated” alternative to Twitter and other social media platforms, with a focus on promoting civil discourse and preventing the spread of hate speech and misinformation.
Engadget’s announcement of Engage drew the attention of many in the tech and media worlds. Some praised the move as a much-needed alternative to the toxicity of existing social media platforms, while others criticized it as an unnecessary and potentially dangerous form of censorship.
However, the biggest news came in November 2021, when Engadget announced that it had reached an agreement with Donald Trump to allow him to use the Engage platform to communicate with his followers.
The move was controversial, to say the least. Many praised Engadget for taking a stand against hate speech and promoting civil discourse, while others accused the site of caving to political pressure and betraying its commitment to free speech.
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