By J Robert Smith
- Dec. 14, 2022
- 3 min read
In January of 2021, when Twitter brass suspended Donald Trump’s very popular and powerful account, it was the last straw for me.
I’d been on Twitter since the autumn of 2013, as I recall. By July 2020, with a lot of sweat equity, I’d built my account to nearly 16,000 followers. I was adding an estimated 100-200 followers daily during that tumultuous summer. The riots and general lawlessness that Democrats were permitting in the cities they ran were fueling my following. Then there was the contentious presidential race. With frequent posts about the Trump-Biden dustup, my profile was rising and reach spreading. A conservative surging in popularity was always a red flag among Twitter’s woke monitors.
Then, suddenly, my new followers slowed to a trickle. Some days, nothing. Then over the course of the next few weeks, my existing following started to dwindle. I went to a Germany-based platform that determines if your Twitter account is being “shadow-banned,” among other surreptitious means of muzzling
members conservatives. My account was being shadow-banned.
Went the reports, Twitter was allegedly purging “bots,” phony accounts. By November 2020, as I recollect, I’d lost about 4,000 followers. Sure, bots have been and are a problem at Twitter. They inflate Twitter’s aggregate count. Twitter’s member volume helps sell advertising and ups pricing.
But purging bots in the middle of a hotly contested election season? Elon Musk questioned Twitter’s price tag in negotiations because, he contended, the platform’s value was inflated by Twitter execs allowing bots to increase its value. Seems a little too coincidently, doesn’t it?
So, when Trump was dumped, I said enough. I closed my account and said, “Bye bye” to so aggressively partisan and devious an enterprise. Google, Amazon, and Apple had crushed Parler, where I had an alternative account (I had built my Parler account to 4,000 followers). I landed at Gab, where I’ve built a following of 5,000-plus freedom-lovers. At Gab, I’m not shadow-banned… not locked out from time-to-time for whatever Twitter’s leftwing monitors considered “inappropriate” messaging (usually branded “hate speech,” which was a crock).
So, what have we learned with Musk releasing the Twitter files? Well, they confirm how brazenly partisan execs and employees were. We learned that execs lied about censorship measures aimed at conservatives and anyone who ran crosswise Twitter’s “progressive” worldview. We learned that Jack Dorsey perjured himself in front of a congressional committee. Dorsey has since made a quasi-apology for his decisions that compromised the “internet and society.” Dorsey was in charge and the buck stopped on his desk. His backpedaling doesn’t sell.
So, why did I go back to Twitter two weeks ago? On a gamble. That Musk firing 80% of Twitter’s workforce is about more than cost efficiency, but an attempt to change the enterprise’s culture. His releasing the Twitter files is another big step in trying to make transparent the flagrant abuses of what was supposed to be an open social media platform – a free speech platform that didn’t censor people because of their beliefs and politics, but only if there were actual threats of violence and intimidation directed at other members.
Twitter, at its best, was a free speech venue were diverse opinions were welcome and healthy clashes of opinion occurred.
I’m betting that Musk means to return Twitter to its original mission. If he does, I’ll stay. If he doesn’t, I’ll scram.
Time will tell, but let’s hope that Musk proves to be the real deal. Thoroughly reforming Twitter would blow a huge hole in the establishment’s attempt to destroy the 1st Amendment and gain a monolithic stranglehold on speech in America. Musk being true to his word is critical to freedom.