Twitter has taken yet another step towards alienating right-wing users of the platform, suspending the popular conservative blogger Robert Stacy McCain.
According to McCain, who had over 90,000 followers on Twitter prior to his suspension, he was not informed of the reasons for his ban from the platform. Tweeting from a promotional account for one of his books, the blogger and former Washington Times editor said his suspension was still unexplained.
— Sex Trouble (@SexTroubleBook) February 20, 2016
In response to McCain’s suspension, the #FreeStacy hashtag was created. It trended in the U.S for several hours, with thousands of users chiming in to express their dissatisfaction with Twitter’s recent targeting of conservatives. Some suggested that they were on the lookout for alternative platforms.
— Instapundit.com (@instapundit) February 20, 2016
— Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) February 20, 2016
— Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) February 20, 2016
— Stacey Lennox (@ScotsFyre) February 20, 2016
Anybody else had enough of tweeting-while-conservative resulting in account suspensions? #FreeStacy
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) February 20, 2016
— Bob Owens (@bob_owens) February 20, 2016
However, users also reported that the hashtag wouldn’t autocomplete in Twitter’s search bar, a significant hindrance to further growth.
— Popehat (@Popehat) February 20, 2016
In a comment to blogger Ethan Ralph, McCain blamed “social justice warriors” and their penchant for false claims of online harassment for his suspension.
…You can’t even state FACTS about these people on Twitter without being accused of “harassment.” Facts are harassment and truth is hate and Oceania Has Always Been at War With Eastasia. Sarkesian is anti-freedom because she is anti-truth. She and her little squad of soi-disant “feminists” are just hustlers looking for a free ride, and the only way they can get that ride is to silence anyone who speaks the truth about them and calls them out as the cheap bullshit artists they actually are.
McCain is not the first high-profile conservative targeted by Twitter recently. From Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ unprecedented loss of “verified” status, to actor Adam Baldwin’s temporary suspension over innocuous tweets, Twitter has been disproportionately targeting conservatives for minor offences while leaving left-wing rule breakers on the platform unpunished.
Fears of political bias at Twitter were stoked after the company announced its new “Trust and Safety” council to help the site be “global and inclusive” in its future policies and practices. The council is packed with left-wing advocacy organizations, while not a single conservative or pro-free speech group can be found. More recently, it was revealed that Twitter maintains a “blacklist” of right-wing users whose tweets are “shadowbanned,” or effectively hidden from other users.
As Twitter does not comment on individual suspensions, it’s hard to know for sure why McCain was suspended. Yet the timing of the right-wing blogger’s ban, so soon after these other incidents of anti-conservative behaviour on the part of Twitter and at a crucial period in the election cycle, make it impossible to ignore.