Twitter recently decided to delete one of the biggest accounts defending Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. The group @Unity4J was banned from the website. As reported by the owners of the account, Twitter removed the account without any prior warnings or providing an opportunity to appeal the decision.
The account was heavily involved in various online discussions and rhetorical battles related to the case of Julian Assange who is currently waiting for a trial in the UK.
Assange is a well-known journalist/whistle-blower who managed to anger many influential powers. Multiple attempts of political assassinations did not work as the world took a protective stance. Millions across the globe consider the case of Julian Assange an important ground to stand to protect our freedom of speech.
Unity4J tried to retweet a message and noticed that the account was removed. At first, account operators thought the issue was strictly technical and tried to access the account from multiple devices. However, their attempts were futile. Christy Dopf, one of the Unity4J operators, said that she wrote to the technical support team but did not receive any answer to why the account was banned. Dopf then tried to write an appeal. The support case is currently open, meaning that there is still hope that Twitter could revert their decision to remove a very important account that puts in efforts to defend Mr. Assange.
“#Unity4J twitter account was suspended this morning with no communication/reason given. We know that account is run very professionally…there is no way there were rules broken. Then Twitter app crashed globally today, but is now working again, and our page is still down,” the group said on their Facebook page.
For some reason, it appears that Twitter have made multiple attempts to suppress those who want to publicly defend Julian Assange. This particular Unity4J case is just the latest of the string of offensive actions taken by Twitter in regards to people who consider and position themselves as defenders of Assange and WikiLeaks.
Multiple reports from users of the platform suggest that Twitter tried to silence voices in favor of Assange by blocking content, restricting or locking discussions, and making sure that opposing opinions received more support. The social media platform also refused to verify Assange’s account for a long time.
Unity4J was conceived as a public platform for Assange. However, Twitter has been, and still, is working against the founders of the account that tries to use politically correct language (that does not break any Twitter rules) to talk about one of the biggest cases in the history of journalism.
While some people may argue that WikiLeaks is not “true” journalism, it is still a massive cornerstone of a heated debate over the state of the world in regards to freedom of speech and freedom of journalism. It also has a 100% record of accuracy and has never had to retract a story. The sheer scope of the case speaks volumes about the importance of the issue to millions of people all over the world. Several activists already expressed their concerns with the recent removal of a highly influential account.
The list of prominent figures who immediately focused on the attempt to inhibit the freedom of speech on a singular social media platform includes Christine Assange, mother of Julian Assange, Lee Camp, the host of Redacted Tonight, and Elizabeth Lea Vos, the founder of Unity4J. All of them, as well as multiple other public personalities, tried to rally the online community to force Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, and other influential Twitter officials to reinstate the Unity4J account.
One of the key issues with this particular case is that we keep hearing troublesome news about ongoing problems related to speech restrictions and censorship plaguing social media platforms. Twitter is one of the biggest social media platforms that many consider a very influential public tribune from which people should be able to express their opinions and ideas freely without any restrictions as stated in the US constitution and constitutions of many civilized countries.
Some believe that in the modern world the line between state and corporate censorship is barely visible meaning that corporate censorship often equals what state wants. While there are no apparent connections between the state and Twitter, it is hard to not see the ghostly ties that make the alignment of the government and Twitter interests nearly impossible to doubt.
You may not be a zealous defender of Julian Assange’s persona, but you have to admit that the blatant attempt to politically destroy a prominent journalist who had to hide from one of the most powerful governments in the world is something to be afraid of.