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‘He’s letting the censors run wild’: The far-right believes Twitter’s new CEO is leading a purge against them

This latest purge has the right-wing feeling victimized and paranoid.

 

Claire Goforth

Tech

Published Dec 9, 2021   Updated Dec 9, 2021, 11:24 am CST

A wave of Twitter suspensions has been reported over the last week. Conservatives believe that they’re being targeted in the “purge.” And they think they know who’s behind it: Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s new chief executive officer.

The suspensions appear to be permanent. It’s not clear whether they’re the result of a new policy, algorithm, or otherwise. Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent Thursday morning.

Reports of widespread suspensions surfaced last week. Some reported losing thousands of followers, similar to when conservatives complained about losing followers in the wake of a widespread purge of Nazis from the platform.

That the suspensions began days after CEO Jack Dorsey stepped down is all the evidence some on the right need to convince them that Agrawal is coming for their accounts.

Allum Bokhari of Breitbart News tweeted, “New Twitter leadership appears to be purging right wing anon accounts.”

He went on to claim that it was “a new banning algorithm” deployed by Agrawal “to gain status with the media, so he’s letting the censors at Trust & Safety run wild.”

In some circles, people have referred to the suspensions with the racially charged term “pajeet purge.” “Pajeet” is a slur for Indian people. Agrawal is Indian-American.

Twitter was awash with dramatics over the suspensions.

“Today we mourn our fallen frens, victims of the Twitter purge,” wrote one. “This action will not go unpunished.”

Many photoshopped Agrawal into memes about the so-called purge.

A large number of accounts were particularly incensed that @TrackerTrial, which purported to follow the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, was suspended. The account had amassed a half-million followers in a matter of weeks. Its suspension was even covered by Fox News.

In a blog post, the person who claims to be behind @TrackerTrial noted that they also ran the similarly suspended @NancyTracker, which purported to follow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) investments.

They posted a screenshot wherein Twitter said that @TrackerTrial was suspended for violating rules prohibiting platform manipulation and spam.

They deny it. “All we did was report information from the trial that the mainstream media was failing to do,” they wrote, then asked for money. (The Maxwell trial is being covered by hundreds of outlets around the world.)

Like others, @TrackerTrial falsely claims that Twitter is violating its constitutional rights by enforcing its rules. There is no constitutional right to have a Twitter account.

“The Founding Fathers believed in the freedom of press. The right to report on news and circulate opinion without censorship from the government,” they wrote.

“Today this censorship is from big tech, another powerful arm of a tyrannical government.”

Some who anticipate being banned are now urging followers to find them elsewhere on the internet.

“We are probably not gonna make it, so make sure to follow our other channels,” wrote an account that describes itself as a “newsletter for the ‘conspiracy theorists’ and others labeled ‘dangerous.'”

Others have simply rejoined Twitter or deferred to backup accounts created before their suspensions.

“This is the new page after @TrackerTrial was shut down,” @trackertrial2 tweeted on Wednesday. “Please follow us and share with a friend!”

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*First Published: Dec 9, 2021, 11:15 am CST