Real-Time Recorded, Week 1 2021

by Dave Michels

Week 1 2021 was a bit light in terms of enterprise comms news, though a huge week for social media.

Twitter and Facebook have had a difficult time with the President’s use of social media. On one hand he is a master that effectively uses their platforms for communication. On the other hand, he uses their platforms to spread misinformation that exacerbates polarization. That alone creates a delicate situation. But then add in attacks on section 230, the fact we are talking about a sitting US President, antitrust concerns, election campaign advertising, and accusations of bias and the situation becomes volatile.

In response to the President’s encouragement of a mob to attack the US capitol, Facebook said no more. Zuck himself wrote “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.” That was a pretty major move, and after FB’s example the other platforms quickly followed suit (actually, I am not 100% sure FB was first, but it seemed so – certainly early). Twitter and Snapchat closed Trump’s accounts, Shopify took down Trump’s campaign store (MAGA Hats). Twitch disabled Trump’s accounts. YouTube removed Trump’s video addressing the Capitol attack. Google suspended Parler From the Google Play Store. Twitter also banned Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, and Ron Watkins.

Twitter gave Trump a long rope because his tweets are (were) deemed newsworthy, but the company reiterated that his account (and others) are “not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things.” The @POTUS and @WhiteHouse accounts remain active (and closely moderated by Twitter). Twitter intends to turn those two accounts over to the next administration.

Effectively, Twitter erased Trump’s account. While that stops him from tweeting again, it also erased his past tweets. That’s a conundrum because, and I hate to say this, they are historical records. At least some of the president’s tweets are subject to the Presidential Records Act, which requires the preservation of their content. There’s also the Trump Twitter Archive, an effort created by a sole developer, that wanted “to provide a public resource.” It has over 56K searchable tweets going back to 2009. I predict that Twitter will soon devise a way to restore prior tweets without reinstating the account.

This was a social rebellion unlike anything we have ever seen. There’s been others banned (such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones), but they were not as popular, nor were the repercussions so swift and as broad.

I bring this up here because it was the big comms story this week, but not particularly business communications. Sticking to an enterprise communications theme, Zeus and I opted to discuss some of the more interesting devices we saw last year in this week’s episode of Real-Time, Recorded. I do love talking about hardware.

In this video we cover several products including the Avaya Vantage, Cisco Desk Pro, meeting boards, room panels, and more.