Over the past week, one of the conservative “causes” getting a lot of attention is the willful misreading of the First Amendment. Dumbasses like Matt Gaetz, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Nikki Haley and more have all been lamenting the nonexistent First Amendment issues of Twitter suspending Donald Trump’s account. To be clear, the First Amendment says nothing about how private companies are legally required to disseminate hate speech, terrorism, dangerous conspiracies and fascist propaganda. In fact, if the American government tried to mandate that Twitter *had* to publish all of those things, THAT is what would be a First Amendment issue. Plus, the First Amendment isn’t “freedom from consequences.” You can say whatever you want. You can verbally incite terrorism all day long. But you’re going to be arrested for inciting terrorism.
What’s interesting is that not only did Twitter suspend Trump’s account, they also suspended thousands of accounts which were spreading QAnon conspiracies and dangerous Nazi/fascist propaganda. Which meant that people like Matt Gaetz and Sarah Sanders saw their follower counts drop by the thousands. What made it worse/funnier is that both Gaetz and Sanders complained about it publicly, on Twitter, like children.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) wants you to know that he used to have way more followers. The Florida man spent the weekend live-tweeting his dropping follower count. On Saturday morning, he had 892,000 followers. By the end of the day, he was down to 842,000. As of writing, he’s at 835,300. “I wish I could lose weight as fast as I’m losing followers during this Twitter purge….” bemoaned Gaetz.
He’s not the only one concerned about their precipitous drop in followers. Mike Pompeo posted an image of the recent changes in follower counts of several prominent politicians. All of the Republicans had lost followers while all of the Democrats had gained new ones. “This is how you create an echo chamber” Sec. Pompeo tweeted. In response, Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that she has lost 50,000 followers this week. According to social media analytics firm Socialblade, she’s actually lost closer to 70,000, all since Thursday. Before that, she was steadily gaining followers.
What could have possibly happened this week that is causing some of President Trump’s most ardent supporters to lose followers? Perhaps the storming of the capitol by a mob of Trump supporters has something to do with it. That insurrection led to the loss of at least one follower for Gaetz and Sanders — Donald J. Trump. On Friday, Twitter permanently suspended the outgoing president’s account.
As for the other hundred thousand or so, Twitter has a host of policies that, in light of Wednesday’s insurrection, might’ve led to the expulsion of additional users. Indeed, in a statement to NBC News, a Twitter spokesperson said “We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm, and given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content.” Considering his warm embrace of QAnon conspiracy theories and candidates, it’s entirely possible that many of Gaetz’s followers were suspended for the reasons outlined in the statement above.
AOC made the point that all of the whining about losing followers is a self-own – Gaetz, Sanders, Pompeo and the rest of them are acknowledging that they had thousands of Nazis, white supremacists and QAnon people following them.
How is that Sanders is this f–king stupid? Even her high school teacher was in her mentions, telling her that this is not the way the First Amendment works.
I’ve lost 50k+ followers this week. The radical left and their big tech allies cannot marginalize, censor, or silence the American people. This is not China, this is United States of America, and we are a free country. https://t.co/Xupd0N1hea
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) January 9, 2021
We cannot live in a world where Twitter’s terms of service are more important than the terms in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 11, 2021
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.