Like many others I’ve been watching the alt-right take over of Twitter evolve in real time. The whole operation is now chained to the manic outbursts and enthusiasms of majority owner Elon Musk and he — as I explained here — is locked in an increasingly tight embrace with a series of far right accounts who keep buttering him up into an escalating froth about how his battle for “free speech” on Twitter is a battle in which the future of humanity at stake. “This is a battle for the future of civilization. If free speech is lost even in America, tyranny is all that lies ahead,” he tweeted on Monday. (Seriously, I watch this clown so you don’t have to …) But just over the last couple days it does seem like there’s a purge of progressive accounts on the site.
At first some of the banned account were ones that can be reasonably classed as radical anti-fascist accounts. To be clear, I do not in any way equate these groups with the fascist paramilitaries they oppose. But these are groups that mobilize to confront Proud Boys type groups on the streets. Some provide armed security at LGBTQ events and other marginalized group/threatened events. It’s plausible that they might say things that could be reasonably construed as endorsing violence. They might be “doxxing” far right individuals. My point is that in a climate of unequal enforcement of Twitter’s terms of service they might actually be violating those terms of service. Again, I’m not justifying their suspensions. I’m providing context for what might be driving them.