Trump to sue Facebook, Twitter CEOs over being banned from their platforms

NBCNews:

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he is filing a class-action lawsuit against tech giants Facebook and Twitter — along with their CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey — because of bans imposed on him and others.

“We’re demanding an end to the shadow banning, a stop to the silencing, a stop to the blacklisting, vanishing and canceling,” Trump said at a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, adding that “we are asking the court to impose punitive damages.”

He spoke from behind a lectern bedecked with an insignia designed to look like the presidential seal and in front of a backdrop reminiscent of a White House portico.

Trump argued that the suspension of his social media accounts amounts to an infringement on the First Amendment’s guarantee that speech won’t be curtailed by the government.

Fundamental to that case is his relatively novel contention that the major tech firms function as arms of the federal government rather than as private companies.

“novel” = “completely bonkers.”

Republicans support freedom of speech so long as you exercise that freedom in ways they approve.

Twitter considers new features for tweeting only to friends, under different personas and more.

I guess lifting the 280-character limit is never going to happen. Sigh.

From couch potatoes to smartphone zombies

The failure of Donald Trump’s blog is symptomatic of the death of the Internet as a “lean in” medium.

Internet visionaries of the 1990s through early 2010s distinguished the Internet from TV. TV was a “lean back” medium, where passive couch potatoes took whatever the three networks gave them. On blogs, Web 2.0, and forums, engaged people “leaned in,” sought information, and engaged in discussion.

But social media algorithms killed that. Now, we take whatever Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram algorithms feed us. Not even Trump’s fanatical followers can be moved to follow him when the algorithms aren’t magnifying his message.

However, Cory Doctorow notes the paradox that the algorithms can bring like-minded people together, and many will get up out of their chairs and get things done, either in BLM protests or in the January 6 insurrection.

Like Cory, I wish social media would just go the fuck away. But I am also aware of that Facebook in particular – which I hate more than all the other social media – is also the one I love the most, because it has brought me together with friends that I would not have connected with you any other channel.

On Wired, Philip M. Napoli says leaned-back couch potatoes have become hunched-over smartphone zombies.

The failure of Trump’s blog tells us that even the kind of impassioned political extremists that form the core of Trump’s base of support are so entrenched in their passive, social-media-dependent mode of media consumption that a traditional blog, absent accompanying social media accounts to generate algorithmic amplification, is incapable of gaining a fraction of the online engagement that a single tweet could achieve. Not even the most public of public figures can break free from the platform dependency that largely dictates the distribution of audience attention online. If Trump’s blog can’t gain traction without direct access to the audience aggregation and amplification tools of social media, then perhaps nothing can.

The failure of Donald Trump’s blog is, then, yet another indication of the massive power that the platform giants hold over the content that we consume. But it’s a reminder that we bear responsibility for voluntarily ceding this power to them, and enthusiastically embracing the push model of the web over the pull. Ultimately, we may look back at the failure of Trump’s blog as the final, definitive nail in the coffin of the original model of the web and the notion of the “active” internet user.

I love Twitter but it has been adrift for years

Twitter launches its first subscription service

Salvador Rodriguez at CNBC:

Twitter announced on Thursday the launch of Twitter Blue, the company’s first subscription service designed for power users willing to pay a monthly fee for exclusive features.

It’s hard to imagine anybody paying for this service.

I’d like an easier way for other people to read my threads, and an easier way for me to compose threads — not an easier way for me to to read other people’s threads, which is what they’re offering here. I’m essentially looking to blow past the 280-character limit. I’d pay for that.

I might also pay for an ad-free version.

And I know many people are clamoring for a way to edit tweets.

But that’s not what Twitter is offering. Instead, they’re offering this and a weather service, as though there wasn’t already a million weather apps.