Harvard Law School Distinguished Fellow Vivek Wadhwa told “Mornings with Maria” on Thursday that he “wouldn't be surprised” if President Trump's social media accounts will be suspended for a week at a time as “more clamping down” is expected.
Wadhwa made the comments the morning after Twitter and Facebook locked Trump’s accounts for the first time, with both platforms saying he violated their policies and Twitter going a step further to warn him that further violations would result in a "permanent suspension."
Twitter's move came after the social media giant removed a video the president tweeted, in which he told protesters who had stormed the Capitol to “go home” while maintaining that the 2020 election had been "stolen."
In a statement on Thursday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote that the block placed on Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will be extended “indefinitely,” saying “we believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.” Facebook owns the Instagram platform.
Zuckerberg also explained why Facebook removed Trump’s statements on Wednesday saying that “we judged that their effect -- and likely their intent -- would be to provoke further violence.” continued.
Following Facebook’s move to suspend Trump indefinitely, a Twitter spokesman told Fox News that the social media platform will "continue to evaluate the situation in real-time, including examining activity on the ground and statements made off Twitter.”
“We will keep the public informed, including if further escalation in our enforcement approach is necessary," the statement continued.
Wadhwa noted on Thursday that so far Twitter and Facebook “have been very cautious” and “very fearful of the Trump Administration.”
“Now they’re not worried about it,” he continued. “And now the pressure has built up. It’s like a pressure cooker here in Silicon Valley.”
Wadhwa also pointed out that “there’s been so much criticism of the tech industry.”
He noted that this month two Google software engineers announced they will form a union open to all employees of Alphabet, Google's parent company. The engineers accused the tech giant of collaborating with repressive governments, mishandling accusations of sexual misconduct against executives and other wrongdoing.
Wadhwa said that “the union wasn’t to make more money, the union was to stand up for political causes.”
“Now this is a release valve for the pressure cooker,” he continued, predicting there will be more “clamping down” from both Twitter and Facebook.
“So I won’t be surprised if the president’s account is suspended a week at a time,” Wadhwa said.
He stressed the need for social media platforms to be regulating, saying that “so far the tech industry has been judge and jury” and the platforms have been able to “make up their own rules.”
Wadhwa pointed to part of a 1996 internet law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."
He stressed that Section 230 has given social media companies “carte blanche to do whatever they want to do.”
In May, Trump signed an executive order that could remove some liability protections for social media companies if they engage in "selective censorship" harmful to national discourse.
“I can go on Twitter or any of the social media platforms, not only can I do whatever I want to do, they get to profit from it, they get to highlight the things that they want to, they get to amplify violence,” Wadhwa said.
He then pointed to the chaos at the Capitol on Wednesday and said Republicans were “shocked” and “said, ‘This can’t be Trump supporters. This is not us.’”
“The fact is that Twitter, Facebook, social media has polarized both the extreme left and the extreme right. They look the same because of the polarization that social media has created for us,” Wadhwa said.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Bryan Llenas contributed to this report.