By: Kyle James | 12-17-2017 | News
Photo credit: Bigtunonline | Dreamstime.com

If You Support President Trump, You May Fall Victim To The Twitter Purge

Fears are broiling among Twitter users who are worried that a so-called Twitter purge will be taking place Monday which could lead to a surge for the smaller social networking site called Gab.

Why? Several far-right accounts gained huge followings while supporting Donald Trump's message during the 2016 election only to be banned by Twitter for various offenses. This lead to them joining Gab, the alternate version of Twitter and the new home for all the scorned Trump supporters Twitter has banned.

For example, "Ricky Vaughn," an anonymous user who used an image of a character from the movie Major League as his avatar was banned by Twitter. "Jared Wyand," another user who was banned in late 2016 for ranting about Jews.

Then there's "Microchip," a massive troll once referred to by Buzzfeed as a "Trumpbot overlord" because being banned this year for tweeting conspiracy theories about the Las Vegas shooter and "indoctrinating children into Nazi camps."

Yet another example is Milo Yiannopoulos who was accused of using the platform to incite harassment against actress Leslie Jones. The two were in a Twitter dispute that eventually ended up in harsh words being exchanged but Jones was never banned despite saying equally offensive things.

All these banned users have migrated to Gab but with the Twitter, purge coming some are starting to wonder if they too will fall victim to the companies ban-hammer.

Although Gab is no Twitter, it only has 300,000 users compared to Twitter's 300 million, the small social networking platform is slowly starting to catch on. Most Gab users seem to be leaning toward right-wing ideology and there are few liberals for trolls to target.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We’ve updated our rules around abuse and hateful conduct as well as violence and physical harm. These changes will be enforced starting December 18. Read our updated rules here: <a href="https://t.co/NGVT3qGFvg">https://t.co/NGVT3qGFvg</a></p>&mdash; Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) <a href="https://twitter.com/TwitterSafety/status/931552531167166469?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 17, 2017</a></blockquote>

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The Twitter purge was first eluded to back in November in a tweet from @TwitterSafety, an official company account that said, "We’ve updated our rules around abuse and hateful conduct as well as violence and physical harm. These changes will be enforced starting December 18."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We’ve updated our rules around abuse and hateful conduct as well as violence and physical harm. These changes will be enforced starting December 18. Read our updated rules here: <a href="https://t.co/NGVT3qGFvg">https://t.co/NGVT3qGFvg</a></p>&mdash; Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) <a href="https://twitter.com/TwitterSafety/status/931552531167166469?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 17, 2017</a></blockquote>

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The part that is really scaring people is the link inside the post suggesting the company will be monitoring user's behavior both on and off the platform. The idea of a "Twitter purge" has caused some users to panic such as neo-Nazis, religious conservatives, and hardcore Trump supporters.

One user who runs a blog that focuses on a hard-line conservative approach to living for women said, "It doesn’t matter what I say. How many times I tweet that I don’t hate minorities, that I don’t believe in Nazism, the-powers-that-be have labeled me a Nazi and claim they know my inner thoughts."

This particular user doesn't only focus Christian values but also frequently posts white nationalist memes and has regular exchanges with white supremacist Richard Spencer.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/getongab?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@getongab</a> promised free speech social for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/altright?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#altright</a> but after a banning some users are turning on it. My latest <a href="https://t.co/Kh1DHaSQ5I">https://t.co/Kh1DHaSQ5I</a></p>&mdash; Michael Edison Hayden (@MichaelEHayden) <a href="https://twitter.com/MichaelEHayden/status/911594471728525312?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 23, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Another user named Scott Torok of Tucson, Arizona joined Gab in October after receiving a ban from Twitter based on his ideology. Torok is a disabled war veteran who regularly posts "pro-military" tweets. "I exposed the left’s lies daily," he said as he explained how he felt Twitter is banning people like him based purely on ideology.

Torok went on to say, "I was purged. Twitter is definitely purging people. People are leaving because of censorship, harassment…101 reasons."

Laura DeNardis is an internet governance scholar who is a professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington and she says that social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are struggling under the load of the ever-increasing volume of complaints.

"The way they write this it seems like a reasonable response to handle problems, but given the volume of requests—there are questions about what these private companies can actually handle," DeNardis said.

The user who was behind the "Ricky Vaughn" account said the regulation of content has "a chilling effect on speech, and especially satire." DeNardis acknowledges the user behind "Ricky Vaughn" may have a valid point, especially if the company is really trying to analyze users behavior outside of the platform.

"I think it’s dangerous to free speech in general to make decisions about what happens outside of the platform," DeNardis continued. "What we have to be careful about," she said, is to avoid having "the pendulum swing so far the other way" in such a way that free speech is curtailed during the attempt to ban legitimate harassment and hate speech.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Periodic reminder: there are really only two groups in favor of a <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NetNeutrality?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NetNeutrality</a> repeal. Behemoth corporations &amp; Nazis <a href="https://t.co/nDMrV88BP6">https://t.co/nDMrV88BP6</a></p>&mdash; Michael Edison Hayden (@MichaelEHayden) <a href="https://twitter.com/MichaelEHayden/status/941119802436997120?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 14, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Another recent hit to free speech was this week's vote on whether to repeal Net Neutrality. If the decision to repeal is approved by Congress, there is no limit to what can be censored online going forward since the loss of Net Neutrality will empower giant corporations in the private sector.

Those who defend the repeal of Net Neutrality say the move would empower companies such as Twitter and Facebook to be able to remove even more users. In the meantime, Gab is taking full advantage of the opportunity and capitalizing on the Twitter purge fears.

Gab said in a recent press release, "Twitter will be judging user behavior both on and OFF of their website. This unprecedented level of censorship and blacklisting of groups from the public square is unlike anything in history and will be a huge opportunity for Gab."

<i>On Twitter:</i>

<a href="https://twitter.com/ErvinProduction">@ErvinProduction</a>

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Source: http://www.newsweek.com/trump-supporters-worried-falling-victim-twitter-purge-within-days-749485

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1 Comment/s
Anonymous No. 14213 2017-12-18 : 14:11

What a bizarre world we live in..

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