Columnists
Suspension of Trump accounts likely to spur new social media policies for presidents
By SMU
Jan 12, 2021
Print this page
Email this article

"The scales tipped"

Dallas, Texas (SMU) – Jared Schroeder, an SMU expert in social media and the First Amendment, predicts that social media giants Facebook and Instagram’s indefinite suspension of U.S. President Donald Trump's accounts will probably lead to new social media policies for future presidents and elected officials. 

“It’s almost as if Trump crossed the Rubicon on Wednesday. The scales tipped once president Trump’s social media posts incited violence,” Schroeder said. “That, combined with the president’s waning power as he prepares to leave office, must have made suspending his accounts more tenable than it has at other times during Trump’s presidency.”  

Schroeder believes this unprecedented move against the president's favored way to address the public through social media may have some long-lasting effects.  

“The social media firms’ decisions probably give us a glimpse into the future. A post-presidency Trump will receive far less protection from bans or blocks. The question is: What will happen next? Will Trump successfully disrupt the social media system, creating a viable, major channel for himself and those who follow him, or will the lack of the presidential mantel and waning access to Twitter and other major tools lead to him fading into history?” 

Schroeder also thinks that President Trump’s social media bans will encourage his base of followers to locate and move towards other social platforms where they can organize and communicate. 

“It’s likely the bans will fuel the us-against-them narrative – and it’s also likely other forums will get a boost in traffic, as we saw after the 2020 election. The bans have taken away the best tools for organizing people and for Trump to speak to the largest audiences, but these are by no means the only tools.”

Books published:

  • Hannah Arendt’s Machines: Re-Evaluating Marketplace Theory in the AI Era. Jared Schroeder (First Amendment Studies, 2020).
  • Marketplace Theory in the Age of AI Communicators. Jared Schroeder (First Amendment Law Review 17, 22-64, 2019).
  • Emma Goldman's No-Conscription League and the First Amendment. With E. Pribanic-Smith and J. Schroeder (Routledge Press, 2018).
  • The Press Clause and Digital Technology's Fourth Wave: Media Law and the Symbiotic Web. Jared Schroeder (Routledge Press, 2018).
  • The Discursive Marketplace: Reimagining the Marketplace Metaphor in the Era of Social Media, Fake News, and Artificial Intelligence. Jared Schroeder (First Amendment Studies, 2018).
  • The Future of Discourse in Online Spaces. Social Media and the Law (In Daxton R. Stewart (Ed.), pp. 255-274). Jared Schroeder (Routledge Press, 2017)