The fallout of Twitter‘s permanent ban on President Donald Trump continued on Saturday, as his eldest son lashed out at the social media site and loyalists fled to alternatives such as Gab and Parler.
‘The world is laughing at America & Mao, Lenin, & Stalin are smiling. Big tech is able to censor the President? Free speech is dead & controlled by leftist overlords,’ Don Trump Jr said in a tweet on Saturday, urging followers to join his mailing list, ‘In case I’m next.’
Twitter banned President Trump on Friday night, saying in a statement that recent Trump tweets amounted to glorification of violence when read in the context of the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Though the company hasn’t issued any further statements, it appears to be conducting a mass purge of any accounts connected with the ‘QAnon‘ conspiracy theory, banning Trump loyalists Mike Flynn, Sidney Powell, and thousands of others.
Don Trump Jr ranted about his father’s Twitter ban in tweets and a Facebook live video on Saturday. ‘Free speech is dead & controlled by leftist overlords,’ he said
The apparent effect has been to massively shrink the follower counts of high-profile conservative figures and Trump allies.
In a video message on Facebook, Don Jr claimed that he had lost 100,000 Twitter followers in the past day.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted an image of an analytical tool showing key elected Democrats gaining tens of thousands of followers, while key Republicans were losing them at the same rate.
‘This is how you create an echo chamber…’ Pompeo wrote.
Amid the bans, Trump loyalists appear to be abandoning Twitter in droves, signing up for Gab and Parler, social media sites that bill themselves as ‘free-speech’ alternatives to Twitter.
Gab claimed that it was seeing more than 10,000 new signups per hour on Saturday.
The Gab app was banned from the Apple and Google app stores years ago amid accusations that it was a cesspool of racist ideology.
Parler shot to #1 in Apple’s App Store on Saturday, even as Apple threatened to ban the app imminently if it did not dramatically change its moderation policies
Meanwhile, the Parler social network has become a haven for far-right personalities who say they have been censored by other social media platforms.
Parler shot to #1 in Apple’s App Store on Saturday, even as Apple threatened to ban the app imminently if it did not dramatically change its moderation policies.
Google on Friday banned the Parler app from its mobile store for allowing ‘egregious content’ that could incite deadly violence like that seen at the US Capitol.
‘We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US,’ Google said in a statement.
Sites like Parler have attracted Republican lawmakers as well as the Trump campaign – but Trump himself has yet to sign up for any Twitter alternative.
After his personal account was banned on Friday, Trump took to the @POTUS account and floated the idea that he might build his own ‘platform.’
Twitter quickly deleted that post and locked him out of the @POTUS account, which will be handed over to Joe Biden after he is inaugurated as president on January 20.
On Friday, Twitter permanently suspended Trump from its platform, citing ‘risk of further incitement of violence.’
President Trump on Friday night found a loophole around his Twitter ban by using the @POTUS account. The tweets claimed that he may set up his own social media platform but were quickly deleted again
A game of whack-a-mole followed, with Trump tweeting from the accounts of various advisors, only to get their accounts banned.
Twitter says using another account to evade a suspension is against its rules.
In his tweets on Saturday, Don Jr pointed out that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who tweeted last year calling for ‘the elimination of the Zionist regime’ through ‘firm, armed resistance,’ still has multiple official Twitter accounts.
Khamenei was accused of advocating ‘genocide’ in Israel, but Twitter said that it deemed the remarks protected political speech.
The bizarre and unprecedented situation led actress Kirstie Alley, an outspoken conservative, to compare Twitter’s crackdown on Trump and his allies to ‘slavery.’
‘ALL people should be concerned is the KEY here,’ she tweeted, citing an American Civil Liberties Union statement expressing circumspect ‘concern’ about Trump’s Twitter ban.
‘It’s true, the average person will no longer have a platform to speak their views. This is called SLAVERY. This censorship proves BIG TECH now holds the keys to the chains,’ she continued.
The ACLU statement did not outright condemn Twitter’s ban, but said that the power of social media companies to ‘wield the unchecked power to remove people’ should ‘concern everyone.’
The civil rights group expressed its fear that ‘Black, Brown and LGBTQ activists’ could be ‘censored’ in a similar fashion.
Actress Kirstie Alley, an outspoken conservative, compared Twitter’s crackdown to ‘slavery’
Shannon McGregor, an assistant professor of journalism and media at the University of North Carolina, said the move lets Twitter try to curry favor with the incoming Biden administration.
Trump ‘only has two weeks left in power, and that certainly makes it easier to deplatform the president,’ she said.
Others saw a more ominous portent in Twitter’s action. ‘Big Tech is not going to stop with the president of the United States,’ Kay James, president of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, wrote in a tweet. ‘They can ban you next and everyone reading this.’
In the Trump tweets cited by Twitter, Trump stated that he will not be attending the inauguration and referred to his supporters as ‘American Patriots,’ saying they will have ‘a GIANT VOICE long into the future.’
Twitter said these statements ‘are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.’
Twitter said its policy enables world leaders to speak to the public, but that these accounts ‘are not above our rules entirely’ and can´t use Twitter to incite violence. Trump had roughly 89 million followers.
Twitter shares fell roughly 4 percent in after-hours trading, reflecting concerns that the Trump ban might reduce usage and advertising sales.
Jonathan Greenblatt, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, said Friday that banning Trump was an ‘excellent step’ and ‘a fitting end to a legacy of spewing hate and vitriol.’ The ADL was part of a coalition of civil rights and advocacy groups on Friday calling for Twitter to ban Trump´s account.