Many Twitter users are vowing to leave the platform after President Donald J. Trump was permanently banned from using the service Friday evening.
“Twitter bans Trump, but won’t check communist Chinese propaganda defending brainwashing & forced sterilizations of minorities,” the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans said, adding the hashtag #twexit.
— Georgia Log Cabin (@GeorgiaLogCabin) January 8, 2021
The same group asked its supporters to follow them on Parler, a site similar to Twitter, hours later.
“Join the 45,000+ people who already follow us on Parler!” they said, also adding the #twexit hashtag.
— Georgia Log Cabin (@GeorgiaLogCabin) January 7, 2021
Twitter released a statement Friday evening about Trump’s ban on its official blog.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the statement said, referring to the Wednesday protests at the Capitol building, for which many blamed Trump.
The ban came about 24 hours after Trump released a video condemning those protests and ensuring the public that there will be an orderly transition of power on January 20.
Many conservatives tweeting the #twexit hashtag are discussing alternatives to Twitter. Along with Parler, Gab has similar functionality to the micro-blogging giant.
“I made a Gab account, same @ as here. Drop your handles! And if there are any big or important accounts on there you suggest I follow, feel free to drop them too #Twexit,” a Twitter user called JenUSA90 said.
I made a Gab account, same @ as here. Drop your handles! And if there are any big or important accounts on there you suggest I follow, feel free to drop them too #Twexit
— Jenna 🦅🇺🇸 (@JenUSA90) January 9, 2021
But the Twitter alternatives face challenges of their own.
Gab, which first launched in 2016 after Twitter banned several high profile conservatives, has itself been banned from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, meaning that it can only be accessed from a web browser, and not downloaded as an application to a smartphone.
After Trump was banned from Twitter Friday night, the emboldened leftist mob demanded that Parler be banned from the App Store and the Play Store, too, anticipating that Trump would move to that platform. Google immediately caved, banning Parler. Apple has not yet banned Parler, but reportedly gave the company a 24-hour notice to change its content moderation policies, or risk being banned.
Censorship by Silicon Valley tech titans has been a much-discussed topic over the past few years, as allegations of anti-conservative bias have been levied against companies like Twitter and Facebook.
In a November executive order, Trump directed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify protections afforded to social media companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides those companies the ability to censor content at will.
“Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see,” Trump said in the order.
“As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our town halls, and our homes. It is essential to sustaining our democracy.”
– – –
Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.