Just days after the violent insurrection at the Capitol resulted in the deaths of five people, including a police officer, social media companies are taking action. Twitter appears to be mass suspending hundreds of far-right accounts that have spent the last several weeks calling for violence at the Capitol. However, with apps like Parler and Gab gaining traction, action may be too little too late.
Facebook and Twitter announced on Thursday that they would suspend Donald Trump’s accounts for different periods of time. Twitter has already reinstated his account and Facebook announced it will continue Trumps suspension at least until President-Elect Biden takes office on January 20th. Experts argue that Trump used his social media platform—especially Twitter—to incite violent unrest on his behalf. Trump is now facing impeachment for a second time over the actions on January 6th.
Several major QAnon and election conspiracy theory influencers such as Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell—both of whom are members of Trump’s inner circle—as well as hundreds of other, smaller fringe accounts were suspended on Friday afternoon. Twitter responded to Grit Daily’s request for comment on Thursday on whether the company would expand its ban on conspiracy theories in the wake of January 6th’s insurrection. “As we did throughout the 2020 US President Election, our teams are work in partnership with election officials and take strong action to protect the online, public conversation happening around elections in countries around the globe,” said a spokesperson for the company in a statement.
Sidney Powell, who was served a $1.3 billion dollar lawsuit today from Dominion Voting Systems for defamation, was also among the accounts that were suspended in its sweep. Powell has spent a large part of the last several months spreading harmful conspiracy theories about the election, and claims that Dominion contributed to Donald Trump’s loss (those claims have been refuted many times, and courts have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud).
Dan Bongino, who announced on Friday that he would be moving to Parler permanently after facing similar treatment from Twitter, is one of the most prolific account holders in the movement. Bongino, who claims to own stake in Parler, has been using Twitter to funnel users to the new app in recent months. Now that Twitter has cleaned house, many of those users are likely to migrate to a platform with less restrictions.
Grit Daily has reached out to Twitter for comment and will update this piece as necessary. The company has not said whether it will update its terms and conditions in the wake of the events on January 6th.