By: Kyle James | 02-22-2018 | News
Photo credit: Christian Betrand |

Twitter Targets Pro-Trump Accounts And Conservatives With New Purge

||| Christian Betrand | |||

Conservative Twitter users say they feel targeted after an overnight purge left thousands of followers wiped out in what Twitter is calling a bot purge. The suspension of several accounts is close on the heels of the indictment by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller of Russian nationals for meddling with U.S. elections.

Twitter told Congress that Russian bot accounts retweeted Trump hundreds of thousands of times between September 1st and November 15th of 2016. Now the company seems to be striking back, particularly against those who are pro-Trump, pro-gun rights, or conservative values.

One man named Dan Bongino, who is a former secret service agent and now works for the NRA, has been very vocal about pro-gun rights and during the purge, Twitter informed him he was no longer eligible to use their ad program.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">That twitter attack on conservatives hit me too last night. I was deemed “ineligible” to use twitter ads and had followers purged. <a href="">@twitter</a> should ashamed, we have to organize a response. <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TwitterLockOut</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Dan Bongino (@dbongino) <a href="">February 21, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Twitter says that automated software is permitted to tweet but is banned from posting misleading or abusive content or spam, and basically they get to decide what that is. The company has begun shutting down accounts linked to Russian disinformation campaigns and fake accounts traced to a Kremlin-linked "troll farm".

The purge was so widespread and extended beyond just bot accounts that #twitterlockout and #twitterpurge began trending late Tuesday night and into Wednesday. To justify their focus on conservatives, researchers at the University of Southern California jumped in to say conservatives retweeted Russian trolls 31 times more than liberals and produced 36 times more tweets.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hello <a href="">@jack</a> a lot of people are asking about <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TwitterLockOut</a> could the company please provide the criteria for erasing followers while folks sleep. I know there is a lot of pressure to be more responsible in curbing certain actions but that shouldn&#39;t extend to muting opinions</p>&mdash; Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) <a href="">February 21, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Twitter also said, "As part of our ongoing work in safety, we identify suspicious account behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse." They deny cracking down on conservative voices even though it's been proven, "Twitter’s tools are apolitical, and we enforce our rules without political bias."

Project Veritas, a conservative advocacy organization that purports to expose media bias, released undercover videos of current and former Twitter employees condemning President Trump and discussing ways the company uses to make it harder to find the tweets of controversial users, conservatives, and anyone else they don't like.

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