Following the January 6 riots in the US Capitol, Twitter removed more than 70,000 accounts. The purge has resulted in 75 percent of Republican Senators losing followers.
The New York Post conducted a review of all 100 Senate accounts. The review revealed that 75 percent of Republican senators lost followers, while only two Democrat senators, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and California’s Dianne Feinstein, lost followers over the past month.
Some of the biggest losers include Mitch McConnell, who lost 45,000; Marco Rubio, 78,000; Chuck Grassley, 50,000. The biggest loser was Lindsey Graham, who lost more than 112,000 followers.
In contrast, prominent Democrats have gained followers over the past few weeks, according to data from Social Blade, a tracking website. Most of the Democrats that gained many followers played vital roles in helping the party win the November 2020 election.
While Twitter’s actions are thought to be responsible for the deletions, it’s thought that many Twitter users in general are disillusioned with the Senators and have unfollowed or even deleted their own accounts.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris gained a whopping 1.3 million followers. Others include Bernie Sanders, who was up 350,000; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, 80,000; Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, 70,000.
Meanwhile, Twitter is refusing to transfer the 33 million followers in the official @POTUS account to Biden when he takes office. The 13 million followers on the account when President Obama left office were transferred to Trump. The company is insisting Biden starts from scratch using the @PresElectBiden account, which will be renamed @POTUS on January 20. So far, @PresElectBiden has more than 850,000 followers.
There are two possible explanations for the GOP senators losing followers. Many have left Twitter after Trump was permanently removed, as a protest to Twitter’s overreach. Additionally, the platform announced that it would remove “questionable” accounts.
“We’re living through a really dangerous period right now in which free speech is under concerted attack across the board,” NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller said, speaking to The New York Post. “Since January 6th, it has primarily affected people on the right.”
“What we’re witnessing is the transformation of the western internet by corporations and the state into a forum much more like China’s internet,” Miller said. “In China, it’s just a given; when you’re online, you’re under surveillance and can be punished for dissident expression.”