As post-election drama is unfolding in the US, where it has been taking an unusual amount of time to count all the votes and officially declare the winner in the presidential race, Twitter has been making good on its promise to step up the already-high level of restriction and censorship on the platform.
Thus a number of high profile accounts have been blocked or otherwise suppressed in the hours after the voting, including that of former candidate for Congress from California, DeAnna Lorraine, in what mainstream media is referring to as “taking fast action.”
Twitter is today an editorialized and curated place and a platform where what’s referred as “fringe” politics, or branded as spam and hateful conduct, apparently has no place. However, that same platform is more than happy and often lauded for rendering its services to protesters and critics of election processes around the world.
In those countries, their authorities have to block access to Twitter to shut up dissenters, but in the US, Twitter is doing the censorship of “unwanted” information itself. Lorraine’s account with 393,000 followers has been permanently suspended for what the company said were repeated violations of Twitter’s terms.
Lorraine’s tweet used the hashtag #StopTheSteal, alleging that electoral fraud was happening across the country, and spelling the word as “fr0d” – reminiscent of the way Chinese democracy activists attempt to circumvent their country’s internet censorship by inventing a code language.
According to NBC News, the purge didn’t stop with the silencing of this Republican, as a raft of accounts belonging to independent journalists whose following on the centralized platform reached 100,000 people got banned on election day for “crimes” such posting what’s deemed to be “misleading or politically charged” images and videos from recent protests.
Twitter was willing to speak to NBC News in order to explain what happened here, but the explanation didn’t amount to much: there was a mention of anti-spam rules, and something as vague and difficult to prove as “coordinated platform manipulation.”