- Prominent left-wing Twitter accounts have been banned after false reports.
- Far-right activists have launched a campaign to report left-wing accounts for false violations.
- Elon Musk reinstated banned right wing accounts like Donald Trump and Kanye West earlier this month.
Several left-wing activists on Twitter have been suspended from the platform after far-right users launched a false-report campaign.
Prominent left-wing accounts have been banned from Twitter since Musk’s takeover, the Intercept reported first. This includes Chad Loder, an anti-fascist researcher who identified a Proud Boy member involved in the US Capitol Riots on January 6 2021; Vishal Pratap Singh, a journalist who has reported on far-right protests in Southern California; Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club, a group that provides armed security for LGBTQ+ events in Texas; and CrimethInc, an anarchist organization that publishes books and podcasts.
Loder told Insider that they suspect their account was suspended because of an “organized mass reporting campaign” against left-wing Twitter users coordinated by a right-wing group called Zanting. The group published detailed instructions on a Substack blog on how to falsely report people along with a list of accounts which included Loder’s profile at the top.
Loder shared screenshots with Insider of messages on Telegram channels — with thousands of followers including Proud Boys and QAnon believers — celebrating Loder’s suspension from the platform.
Senior members of Twitter’s trust and safety team were aware of the list and the false reporting campaign against Loder — which is a violation of Twitter’s policies against platform manipulation — and had plans to address it. However, key members of the team have now quit or were fired including executives Vijaya Gadde and Yoel Roth.
“There’s nobody minding the shop anymore,” Loder said. “I know everyone that worked on Twitter’s trust and safety team over the years has long gone and the team has been more than decimated. It’s maybe 5% of the original staff, so what’s happening is mass-reporting is allowed to succeed because there’s no one double checking whether these reports are valid or not. So people are being suspended for silly things or over nothing at all.”
Far-right users like journalists Andy Ngo on Twitter has also urged Musk to address the “large number of Antifa accounts” operating on Twitter. Ngo specifically mentioned CrimethInc calling it an “Antifa collective.” Musk then directed Ngo to report Antifa accounts.
CrimethInc said in a written statement to Insider: “We have been using Twitter since 2008. We have never so much as received a warning. On November 25, Elon Musk banned us at the request of a far-right troll who has made a career out of targeting those who oppose fascist violence.
“Elon Musk’s rhetoric about ‘free speech’ is willfully dishonest. In fact, he is purging anti-fascist accounts at the same time that he reinstates neo-Nazis like Brett Stevens, the neo-Nazi blogger who inspired Anders Breivik to murder 77 people .”
Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club shared a screenshot with Insider of its account suspension. In the screenshot, Twitter said the account had been suspended for “violating our rules against hateful conduct.”
The group said in a written statement to Insider: “Our primary account, like many others, was baselessly suspended after numerous campaigns by right-wing propagandists like Andy Ngo to silence us. The reinstatement of the most vile antisemitic, racist, and transphobic accounts coinciding with the silencing of accounts documenting them is not a coincidence. This is a clear indication of Musk’s interpretation of who ‘freedom of speech’ applies to.”
Singh told Insider his “reporting had been disrupted,” by the actions of “Twitter, Elon Musk, and far-right online trolls.” He added: “Not only are my own articles impacted by this suspension— various other reporters and researchers have previously linked to my tweets and videos as evidence. Now those links are broken.”
Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist,” and reinstated several right-wing accounts that were previously banned including Donald Trump, Jordan Peterson, Kanye West, Babylon Bee and more.
Loder said Musk’s free speech campaign is really just about “bringing back a lot of legitimate violent neo-Nazi accounts.” He has “thrown his lot in with far-right extremists and they have his ear,” and he is “in an echo chamber of his own design.”
“We’re seeing far-right voices crowded into the space while far-left voices are being pushed out of the space.”
Loder said that “trying to get back onto Twitter at this point feels like trying to crawl back onto the Titanic while it’s sinking.”
Twitter did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.