Sunday, October 1, 2023

Twitter Back to Censoring Conservative and Libertarian Accounts

'The renewed censorship crackdown extended to Headline USA...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) When Elon Musk confirmed last month that the new Twitter CEO would be former NBCUniversal executive and World Economic Forum crony Linda Yaccarino, conservatives and libertarians worried that Musk was backtracking on his promise that his new company would be a free-speech platform.

It turns out, those fears were well-founded.

Numerous dissident political accounts—from high-profile accounts such as “Catturd” to humble users with several hundred followers—have reported being permanently banned, suspended and censored in recent weeks.

The renewed censorship crackdown extended to Headline USA. When this reporter posted a photo of the charred corpse of tax protestor Gordon Kahl—who the FBI killed and conflagrated this month 40 years ago—Twitter had it removed.

Headline USA appealed the decision, explaining that the picture was posted for journalistic reasons—it’s the same photo used in this story—but Twitter maintained its decision.

While this reporter had the option to restore his Twitter account by deleting the picture of Kahl, others have been outright banned. Libertarian Institute fellow Richard Booth had his account, @booth_okc, banned earlier this month for tweeting that President Joe Biden should be “wired up to an electric chair” over his recent corruption scandals.

Booth’s 5,000-plus follower account—which was the source of numerous original threads about the Oklahoma City bombing, Biden’s alleged dementia and other topics— had been suspended multiple times in the pre-Musk era for simply posting pictures of Hunter Biden smoking crack. Booth said he thinks the Twitter censors are busying themselves again now that Musk has appointed a new CEO.

Another conservative account to be permanently banned was “Autonomous Truck(er)s,” which gained prominence during Canada’s Freedom Convoy. It’s not clear why this account was banned.

Other prominent accounts have avoided overt censorship, but are experiencing technical difficulties. Such is the case for Revolver News’s Darren Beattie, who has been documenting instances where older videos of him commenting on the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill protests experienced glitches.

Similar to Booth, Beattie suggested that a “rogue employee” might be driving the renewed censorship at Twitter.

The Columbia Bugle posted a thread of the instances where Beattie’s videos glitch.

Twitter did not respond to an email from Headline USA seeking comment on whether and why it’s changed its content-moderation policy. But the recent crackdown coincides with Twitter’s top advertisers returning to their usual spending habits.

All this harkens back to Yaccarino’s comments from April, shortly before Musk announced her as new CEO.

“[Advertisers] need to feel that there is an opportunity for them to influence what you’re building … moderation—that’s what the influence is,” she said.

Apparently, Yaccarino has given advertisers the influence they sought.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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