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Conservatives Accuse Twitter of Purging Thousands of Followers

#TwitterLockout becomes rallying cry for right-leaning accounts

Last Updated: February 22, 2018 @ 8:15 AM

Scores of prominent conservative and right-leaning Twitter users were up in arms on Wednesday morning, accusing the social media company of purging thousands of followers.

The hashtag #Twitterlockout quickly gained steam and started trending across the country, with many saying they lost a substantial amount of followers as Twitter looked to weed out bot accounts. Instead, real users were also burned by Twitter, they argue.

In a response to TheWrap, a Twitter spokesperson said accounts aren’t being deactivated because of their politics.

“Twitter’s tools are apolitical, and we enforce our rules without political bias. As part of our ongoing work in safety, we identify suspicious account behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse,” said the spokesperson. “We also take action on any accounts we find that violate our terms of service, including asking account owners to confirm a phone number so we can confirm a human is behind it. That’s why some people may be experiencing suspensions or locks. This is part of our ongoing, comprehensive efforts to make Twitter safer and healthier for everyone.”

Paul Joseph Watson, a commentator for InfoWars, asked, “Who else lost thousands of followers overnight?” He later tweeted he’d gained back all the followers he’d lost.

Conservative blog The Columbia Bugle said it lost more than 2,000 followers in the “purge.”

National Rifle Association-defending former secret service agent Dan Bongino echoed the sentiment, along with ESPN alum and regular Fox News guest Britt McHenry. “Do you want conservatives to leave your site,” she asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. McHenry also included a screenshot of a follower who said she’d been “blacklisted.”

Alt-right staple and self-professed white supremacist Richard Spencer also claimed the “major purge” cost him followers.

Some have pushed for right-leaning Twitter users to ditch the platform altogether and move to Gab, a social media site that “champions free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online,” according to its site.