#TwitterLockOut is trending on Twitter because many conservative users of the social media platform noticed that they were losing followers, or that their accounts were essentially shut down. Even the coveted “blue check mark” didn’t seem to protect some people:
— Terrence K. Williams (@w_terrence) February 21, 2018
That twitter attack on conservatives hit me too last night. I was deemed “ineligible” to use twitter ads and had followers purged. @twitter should ashamed, we have to organize a response. #TwitterLockOut pic.twitter.com/1Df4jY3Vv6
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) February 21, 2018
While many may be saying that this is a Twitter conspiracy to get rid of conservatives on the platform, there are legitimate reasons why the engineers would go after accounts offering a certain kind of content. Russian bots on Twitter have been pushing conservative views for some time now, according to breadcrumbs being offered from the Mueller investigation. Because Twitter can be totally anonymous, it’s entirely possible that at least some U.S. conservatives on Twitter have been interacting with Russians without even knowing it. These activities have been continuing, and include posts on the shooting in Parkland, Fla., and gun control.
It’s true that Twitter employees probably aren’t crying any tears over the idea of sweeping up piles of conservative accounts:
Looks like thousands of Twitter users committed the thought crime of tweeting about "God," "the American flag," and "guns," and were taken off the platform. Our undercover reporting into Twitter showed those terms indicate to engineers you are "for sure a bot." #TwitterLockOut pic.twitter.com/hI88iUEcCD
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) February 21, 2018
However, it is important to remember that Twitter is a private business, and is not required to guarantee use of its product to everyone. They are quite within their rights to censor content. In spite of the latest cries about that practice now, it’s not likely that Twitter will ever completely silence anyone ever. It simply isn’t worth the gamble for a company that just managed to start turning a profit. Its focus will be on bots and abusive accounts, because the goal will remain focused on their bottom line. Bots from foreign nations are likely to cause problems in the future for Twitter, since sooner or later the government may decide to levy penalties of some kind against social media companies that fail to even attempt to shut down these accounts. Twitter also wants to shut down abusive accounts because they won’t be able to turn around their sluggish user sign-up rates if they don’t lose the reputation for being the haven of anonymous trolls. One thing that has helped the company is a significant increase in active users, and whether they like it or not, that included an influx of active conservative users who were fired up by the Trump campaign and presidency.
So, Twitter needs to weed out foreign bots who are hiding among conservatives who already think that they are being targeted on the platform. Their employees are generally politically opposed to those conservatives, so they’re enjoying the job. However, their accountants know that the conservatives are an integral part of the company’s current successes. Sooner or later, there will be a time when the accountants will have a real conversation with the management and employees at Twitter, and it will go something like this – “We know you really don’t like all those conservatives, but we also know you like to get paid. Either stop targeting users who are putting cash in your pocket and are keeping this company afloat, or shut it down and call it a day.”
Maybe conservatives need to remember that, and realize that while the Twitter workers might hate them completely, there’s no way those people would have their jobs without the “evil conservatives.”