On February 20th, the popular social media platform, Twitter, suspended thousands of accounts for suspected bot activity and/or other violations of Twitter’s terms of service.
However, some political conservatives believe they are being censored in a country where free speech is allowed.
This sweep of suspensions has garnered some backlash from conservative media users who lost many followers in this process. Some of these influencers include Bill Mitchell and Richard Spencer, both of whom complained about the suspensions and their loss of followers.
Several other conservative Twitter accounts were suspended pending verification they weren’t bots and that real people were using the accounts.
The twitter purge is real. You may have to refollow me after last night if you’re interested in my content. Twitter blocked me from twitter ads last night and purged thousands of followers. Spread the word. #TwitterLockOut @TwitterSupport @jack @twitter
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) 21 February 2018
Dan Bongino tweeted that this purge is real and that his followers may need to refollow him after the February 20th purge. He also claims that Twitter blocked his Twitter Ads.
MFLYNNJR tweeted that he would give Twitter the benefit of the doubt, but they have been caught several times censoring conservative accounts. Richard Spencer reported at about 1 AM of February 21st that he lost nearly 1,000 followers in a matter of hours.
Conservative figures Rick Wilson and Holly Figueroa O’Reilly said the deleted accounts were Russian bots and that it wasn’t just conservative accounts losing their followers due to the purge.
Apparently Twitter likes working in the dark (did this late at night) Many are unaware that twitter locked 🔒 accounts thinking we were bots
Anyway, I know who I am but Twitter has messed with my followers Please be patient as we try to reconnect #TwitterLockOut pic.twitter.com/dbohXnlcae
— EAGLE WINGS (@Isa4031AMP) 21 February 2018
Twitter has yet to confirm how many accounts they have suspended but did release a statement that they are continuing to identify suspicious accounts due to automated activity or other terms of service violations.
Twitter says this purge was part of a normal process that occurs through their own tools which are apolitical and unbiased. The tools in place are designed to weed out fake and malicious accounts to protect the platform as well as its users. One of the things users can do to prevent this issue is to attach a valid phone number to the account to confirm a human owns it.
When accounts are locked, the user is asked to provide a phone number to prove they are human. Until a phone number is provided, the account will remain locked and will lose followers.
Ever since the ordeal of hateful and misleading information during the 2016 election, which continues, the investigation into alleged Russian influence in the election scrutinizes all media. That puts social media channels like Twitter under the microscope, resulting in the platform’s security software being tightened.
Since Twitter has come under criticism for the account purge, they have removed over 50,000 accounts that were identified as Russian linked accounts. They also notified almost 700,000 users who had engaged with these accounts.
Twitter may or may not be targeting conservative accounts, but they are targeting what appear to be fake accounts that may have engaged with conservative accounts, thereby affecting user accounts. Other accounts that aren’t conservative users were affected by the purge.
Twitter makes no apologies for eliminating fake accounts, bot-run accounts, and users who violate their terms of service. Devumi was recently exposed for supplying fake followers on a massive scale. Whether it is fair or unfair is a matter of opinion and depends on whether or not your account was adversely affected by the purge.
1 thought on “Twitter Purges Suspected Bot Accounts – Is it Politics or a Regular Sweep?”
Thank you for this post.