Since 10 March 2018 our @IWPCHI Twitter account has been blocked by Twitter. They claim that it is because our account has exhibited “automated behavior” – which is absolutely not true. As anyone knows who has ever engaged us in conversation via our Twitter account, whenever we are online on Twitter we are “live” and have engaged commenters on our Tweets in sometimes quite extensive conversations. There is simply no basis for their assertion that we have used some kind of automated program on Twitter.
Here is our latest reply to the Twitter machine:
This censorship is also being experienced by our sister organization “Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago” who are also locked out of their account – for the third time – by the Twitter censorbots.
Twitter has built its Internet empire on fake accounts, which it has allowed to proliferate on its network since day 1; and recently, when the New York Times exposed the existence of perhaps hundreds of millions of fake Twitter accounts created by the “follower fraud” company “Devumi”, Twitter pretended to be “shocked, shocked!” that such things were going on in their little Internet Disneyland.
But, of course this is precisely how Twitter became the social media juggernaut it now is.
Now, to “rectify” their self-made crisis of confidence in their fraudulent follower base among their valued corporate customers, Twitter is seeking to “verify” the accounts of obviously legitimate customers by demanding that they divulge their phone numbers – or be locked out of Twitter forever. For political activists, the prospect of having to reveal their identity to Twitter is tantamount to revealing it to the US government (which can obtain the information from Twitter simply by demanding it) and, potentially, to all those who oppose their activism in the event that Twitter – like far more “secure” organizations before them – gets hacked. By forcing political activists living under repressive governments to divulge their personal phone numbers, Twitter is placing those people at risk of severe repercussions – including death – should those governments ever obtain Twitter’s database of personal customer information. To say that the new Twitter policy of requiring every customer to provide a phone number is reckless is to make an extreme understatement of the issue.
Of course, Twitter is hiding the true reason for its new censorship campaign behind the absurd claim of the US capitalist class that their chosen candidate Hillary Clinton was soundly beaten in 2016 and Donald Trump elected President solely due to “Russian meddling” in social media – particularly Twitter. They want us to believe that the flag-waving pro-US right-wing anticommunist (and in many cases outright US nativist fascist) supporters of Trump were all actually “Manchurian Candidate” voters under the spell of Vladimir Putin and a handful of pro-Putin trolls pushing Trump as the lesser evil candidate. They expect us to believe that everyone who voted for Trump is a “traitor” in thrall to Putin! What a load of crap! And Twitter’s new campaign of rampant censorship is, we are supposed to believe, simply a reaction to this Russian “meddling” on Twitter. Twitter pretends that it can’t tell the difference between Russian bot Twitter accounts created in 2016 from legitimate Twitter accounts created long before Trump was even considering a run for the Presidency. They can’t distinguish – they have no reliable method to tell the difference between Russian botnets and, say, the @IWPCHI or @FoWLChi accounts! The “Russian bot crisis” – caused by Twitter’s own incompetence at monitoring its own network thus becomes an excuse for rampant censorship of their network. Hillary Clinton was reported to have employed hundreds of thousands of fake Twitter accounts during the 2016 campaign… has she had her account locked out? No. Donald Trump is a serial violator of the Twitter “Terms of Service”: has he had his Twitter account locked out? No. Only the accounts of working-class opponents of the Democratic Party – right and left – seem to be worthy of the automated Twitter censor’s hammer. What a surprise!
This whole debacle only underscores how impossible it is to expect the capitalist class to create Internet services that provide a forum for democratic debate of issues of vital importance to the working class. It is simply not in the class interests of the bourgeoisie to provide their wage-slaves opportunities to organize the overthrow of the capitalist system. Twitter, like Google and Facebook, have rapidly evolved to become virtual extensions of the US government and its intelligence services’ data-mining operations. That these quasi-governmental capitalist behemoths should engage in rampant censorship of working-class opponents of the capitalist system does not surprise us in the least.