It’s the 14th month of 2020, and yes, people are still getting kicked off of Twitter. “De-platforming” is a new vocabulary word we’ve had to learn this year. It basically means that someone has their public voice – or platform – taken away by the publisher, or the private social media company. Companies such as Twitter can control the content on their servers because of Section 230. It’s a code that says “Good Samaritan” screening – deleting content they consider to be objectionable – is OK. Yes, you have free speech, but not necessarily on a privately owned platform.
But this time, it’s not a person who has been de-platformed; it’s a media organization. Project Veritas is an undercover reporting enterprise dedicated to exposing “corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud and other misconduct.” Their unusual tactics have received everything from praise to criticism to blame. But this time, they received a swift kick from Twitter, and they’re permanently banned.
It all went down when Project Veritas released a video of their reporter approaching Facebook Vice President Guy Rosen outside of his home. Twitter locked the account because he published private information. But in an email to Politico, Veritas founder James O’Keefe said that’s not true and that Rosen wouldn’t answer any of the reporter’s questions. Twitter said they could come back if they deleted the Tweet. Yeah, O’Keefe said they’re not doing that. His account was also temporarily locked but is back online now.
All of this Twitter lockdown makes you wonder: Who else has been kicked off of Twitter in the past two months? We’ve got you covered. O’Keefe and Project Veritas are the most recent. Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
Jim Hoft (@gatewaypundit) |Permanent|
- Founder and editor-in-chief of right-wing news website Gateway Pundit
- Repeated violations of Twitter’s Civic Integrity policy by tweeting about election fraud
Shiva Ayyadurai (@va_shiva) |Permanent|
- MIT alum, scientist, former Senate candidate
- Violated Twitter’s Civic Integrity policy by tweeting about election fraud, Deep State and the COVID-19 pandemic
Mike Lindell (@realMikeLindell) & My Pillow (@mypillowusa) |Permanent|
- CEO of MyPillow
- Repeated violations of Twitter’s Civic Integrity policy. Lindell tweeted about election fraud.
- He then violated Twitter’s policy on ban evasion by using the company’s Twitter account to post “Jack Dorsey is trying to cancel me (Mike Lindell) out!”
Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (@Tokyo2020jp）|Temporary|
- Okay this one is funny. Someone goofed by putting the age of the account to “7 years old,” which doesn’t meet the age requirements of Twitter.
Chinese Embassy in U.S. (@ChineseEmbinUS) |Temporary|
- Violated Twitter’s policy on dehumanization by tweeting that Uighur women were no longer “baby-making machines,” referring to forced sterilization in China.
Ali Alexander (@ali) |Permanent|
- Organizer of the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6
Team Trump (@TeamTrump) |Permanent|
- Campaign account
- Violated the ban evasion policy by reposting the deleted tweets from @POTUS.
Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump) |Permanent|
- Violated Twitter’s Civic Integrity policy, following the storming of the U.S. Capitol, to prevent the “risk of further incitement of violence.”
Sidney Powell (@SidneyPowell1) & Michael Flynn (@GenFlynn) |Permanent|
- Powell is an attorney, and Flynn is the former United States National Security Advisor.
- Violated Twitter’s policy on Coordinated Harmful Activity by sharing QAnon content
Dan Bongino (@dbongino) |Temporary|
- Fox News contributor, Parler inventor
- Reposted a video posted by Trump
- He left permanently.
Civic Integrity Policy
You may notice that the Civic Integrity Policy is mentioned several times. It’s fairly new (September 2020) and was created to “label or remove false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election or other civic process,” according to the press release.
Is this OK? What can be done?
Section 230 gives Twitter the authority to create this policy and those used to ban Project Veritas and the rest of the list. Should Twitter and other social media platforms have this publishing power? Having no rules in social media was threatening to users and publishers. But some people think the rules are heading in a dangerous direction, too. Is it time for the government to step in again? Or would they make matters worse?
As techies, politicians, CEOs, journalists and ordinary people alike try to find a solution, only time will tell if they will come up with a solution.