Twitter banned the account of conservative commentator and CRTV host Gavin McInnes without warning earlier today, as well as the official account of the Proud Boys, a conservative-libertarian activist group McInnes founded.
A Twitter spokewoman said that the accounts had been banned for violating Twitter’s policies on “violent extremist groups.” Yet both the Proud Boys and McInnes advocate mainstream conservative and libertarian positions.
The left-leaning magazine Variety drew a link between the bans and the upcoming Unite The Right 2 rally in Washington D.C., organized by alt-right activists. Yet both McInnes and the Proud Boys have disavowed the alt-right.
The ban came despite Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s recent assurance, made on Sean Hannity’s radio show, that he hoped to deal with terms of service violations “with warnings, with notices, with a temporary lock of the account” ahead of permanent bans.
Dorsey faced immediate pressure from left-wing employees inside his own company following his interview with Hannity, causing the company to accelerate changes to its hate speech policy.
Twitter’s decision came just days after InfoWars host Alex Jones was kicked off multiple social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Apple podcasts, Spotify, and Pinterest. It also comes little more than a week after Twitter was castigated by President Trump himself for suppressing the accounts of top Republicans in the platform’s search results.
Just yesterday, the New York Times ridiculed fears of mass censorship of conservatives on social media, calling the concerns “overblown.”
The New York Times is wrong. Instead of winding down, the censorship of popular figures who refuse to toe the progressive line appears to be ramping up.
Beyond Twitter, the popular, politically nonaligned podcast h3h3 had its YouTube live broadcast banned mid-stream after its hosts began discussing the censorship of Alex Jones.
— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) August 10, 2018
Little over an hour later, Twitter banned McInnes and the Proud Boys.
Everywhere one looks, high-profile media figures are being cut off from their audiences without warning, either for discussing forbidden topics or embracing forbidden political positions.
Top Republicans have repeatedly attacked social media companies for censoring figures on the right. GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale sent letters to Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg warning them that such censorship was unacceptable. Trump himself has condemned Twitter, calling their censorship of conservatives “discriminatory.”
Silicon Valley’s masters of the universe have completely ignored these concerns. With the midterms just a few months away, it seems the grassroots right will soon be stripped of its opportunity to mobilize their supporters on social media.