First they came for the right-wing bellends

Following on from the shadowbanning nonsense, Twitter have now suspended the account of an aggressively anti-feminist right-winger with 90000 followers, with no hint of exactly what it was he said that crossed the line.

I am not going to defend this man’s speech or opinions, he’s an unpleasant and misogynist bigot. But again the lack of transparency suggests Twitter has adopted a policy of suspending high-profile accounts “pour encourager les autres” in a largely ad-hoc manner. And that does raise all sorts of concerns over the direction in which Twitter is heading.

This comment on Popehat sums up the concerns quite well.

Twitter’s getting too Orwellian for my tastes. No fun. I’ll be damned if I stick around if they’re going to let the likes of Arthur Chu and Anita Sarkeesian decide who gets voted off the island.

It’s probably going to be a while before the speech of liberals is threatened. Precedents in other spaces suggest that if they succeed in driving off the wingnuts the next targets are more likely to be those on the wrong side of sectarian disputes within feminism.

But the mention of Arthur Chu is a reminder that my card is already marked. I’m on his shared block list along with 30000 other people because months ago I criticised something he said. While it would be monumentally stupid for Twitter to decide one morning to suspend every single account on that blocklist, their recent behaviour means that can’t be trusted not to be that idiotic.

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