The Twitter Purge | Jordan Page
Twitter has come under fire after they conducted one of the biggest account purges ever, which included the inevitable deactivation of Donald Trump’s personal account. Thousands upon thousands of accounts were removed, in an act that Twitter described as ‘protecting the integrity of conversation’, as part of a statement released the following morning; “As part of our work to protect the integrity of the conversation on Twitter, we regularly challenge accounts to confirm account details such as email and phone number,” the statement read. “Until the accounts confirm additional account information, they are in a locked state and do not count towards follower counts.”
However, that isn’t the full story. The vast majority of the accounts purged, excluding the bot accounts, were that of US and UK conservatives. Accounts belonging to Trump allies such as Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell were removed, Twitter censored official US Government accounts such as @POTUS, and popular conservative commentators like Dave Rubin reported losing thousands of followers.
Now, Twitter is fully within their right as a private corporation to remove individuals who they deem have been breaking their terms of service, however, if this is the path they want to go down – acting like a publisher and not a platform – then they need to start applying some consistency.
The most powerful individual in Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is also a user of Twitter (@khamenei_ir). He has used his platform in the past, in 2018, to spread hate and incite violence against Israel, claiming that the nation ‘has to be removed and eradicated’. He has also used his platform to spread misinformation about the UK and US vaccines, claiming that they will ‘contaminate other nations’. His account still remains active and has never been censored.
Recently, the account belonging to the Chinese Embassy to the US (@ChineseEmbinUS) shared an article from chinadaily.com which claimed that by eradicating extremism from the minds of Uygur women, then they would be more confident, and would no longer be ‘baby making machines’; “Study shows that in the process of eradicating extremism, the minds of Uygur women in Xinjiang were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted, making them no long baby-making machines. They are more confident and independent.” This tweet was eventually removed, but not by Twitter; the admin of this account removed it after the backlash. The account still remains active.
Twitter, with its current action, is setting a very dangerous precedent. They hide behind the privileges given to them under Section 230 as a platform, yet continue to act recklessly as a publisher. Trump’s recent posts were wrong and inexcusable; however, he eventually did the right thing by condemning the violence at Capitol Hill and committing to a transition of power to a new administration. Love or hate him all you want, but the fact that Twitter has the power to get away with silencing the sitting US President, cutting all forms of communication he has with the country he leads, is incredibly dangerous. This sort of power allows companies such as Twitter and Facebook to pick and choose what news gets out to the public, with the ability to remove anything that goes against their narrative or that they deem as dissent.
‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’