A number of prominent conservative and libertarian accounts were banned from Twitter this year as Big Tech ramped up the blacklisting of ideological dissidents and mainstream conservatives alike.
Infowars & Alex Jones
InfoWars and its founder Alex Jones were blacklisted from almost every single online platform and service this year, including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, Apple, Disqus, and PayPal.
Twitter banned InfoWars and Jones after Jones filmed himself confronting and insulting a CNN reporter for lobbying platforms to ban InfoWars, and Twitter released a rare statement on the suspension, breaking its usual policy against commenting on individual accounts.
“Today, we permanently suspended @realalexjones and @infowars from Twitter and Periscope. We took this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations,” declared Twitter in a statement. “As we continue to increase transparency around our rules and enforcement actions, we wanted to be open about this action given the broad interest in this case. We do not typically comment on enforcement actions we take against individual accounts, for their privacy.”
“We will continue to evaluate reports we receive regarding other accounts potentially associated with @realalexjones or @infowars and will take action if content that violates our rules is reported or if other accounts are utilized in an attempt to circumvent their ban,” the company continued.
InfoWars, which had over 430,000 followers, and Alex Jones, who had around 900,000 followers, remain banned.
Vice co-founder and conservative commentator Gavin McInnes was banned from Twitter in August, along with other accounts associated with the right-wing fraternal Proud Boys group.
As reported by Breitbart Tech Senior Reporter Allum Bokhari at the time, “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 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.
McInnes, who had over 260,000 followers before his suspension, remains banned.
Conservative commentator Laura Loomer was banned from Twitter in November after she “accused Congresswoman-Elect Ilhan Omar of supporting Sharia law and female genital mutilation.”
Loomer had over 260,000 followers at the time of her ban, and she protested the decision by chaining herself to Twitter’s New York City headquarters.
Loomer’s protest received heavy media coverage, and the Jewish commentator wore a yellow Star of David to highlight the hypocrisy of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan remaining on the platform despite his anti-Semitic comments.
“I threw away the key, and I’m here for the millions of conservatives who have been censored by Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg,” Loomer proclaimed while chained to Twitter’s offices, before her cuffs were cut by police officers.
Loomer remains banned.
Radio host and Marine Corps veteran Jesse Kelly caused a lot of protest after Twitter banned him for unknown reasons in November.
Though Kelly’s account was later reinstated, the radio host warned “moderates” that Twitter would also come for them in the near future.
“They did exactly what I said they would do. They came for Alex Jones first because he’s a nut job and they wanted to see how the right would react. They got him and I knew they were coming for me,” he proclaimed. “And they will come for you too.”
British political commentator and street activist Tommy Robinson was banned from Twitter earlier this year for posting, “Islam promotes killing people.”
Robinson, who had previously been stripped of his verification checkmark by Twitter, went on to the protest the ban and censorship in general by organizing the Day For Freedom event in London, which was supported by UKIP leader Gerard Batten, For Britain leader Anne Marie Waters, Gavin McInnes, Lauren Southern, Carl Benjamin, and Stefan Molyneux.
Robinson, who had around 400,000 followers, remains banned.
Libertarian comedian Owen Benjamin, who had over 120,000 followers, was banned from Twitter in April.
“Both twitter accounts suspended and now my ability to make an income has been revoked,” declared Benjamin in a statement following the ban. “This is disgusting. I have a two-year-old and a pregnant wife and they just set my life back to 0 with one big swoop. I just worked tirelessly for the last 5 months building my online ability to make a living and it’s all gone. You will be next. Fight it now.”
Benjamin, who is often outspoken about his political beliefs, had an event canceled at the University of Connecticut in 2017 after he criticized the practice of giving hormone replacement treatment to children.
Benjamin remains banned.
Conservative street artist Sabo had his account permanently suspended in April.
Sabo, who frequently targets Big Tech companies and their CEOs in his street art, claimed he wasn’t “told why” he was banned, and declared, “They want nothing less than to completely destroy us on the Right.”
Sabo, who had over 30,000 followers, remains banned.