A sizable majority of The Information’s subscribers responding to a survey today see the decisions by tech companies to block Parler and President Trump as setting long-term precedents, rather than being specific to the events of Jan. 6. That view raises the fundamental question for all tech companies blocking Parler: Are they going to eventually revert to their pre-Jan. 6 hands-off policy on content, or in the future only deal with customers deemed politically suitable?
It has been obvious since last week that Trump’s incitement of the violent rampage at the Capitol gave social media the license—if not the obligation—to take more radical action against Trump than they had before. But the cascading series of moves by a wide range of tech companies to disable Parler raises broader questions about content on the internet. There was noticeably less agreement about those moves among subscribers responding to our survey. While about 71% agreed with Facebook and Twitter on banning Trump, 67.6% agreed with Google and Apple blocking Parler from their app stores. And even fewer—62%—were in favor of AWS and Twilio cutting off Parler.