On Thursday, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) announced that her Communications Director, Karoline Leavitt, had been suspended from Twitter. The reason was unknown and there might not even be a reason. Leavitt is one of many conservatives who has been suspended in "error." The suspension may have been brief, but it's worrisome that it happened at all.
BREAKING: It appears I’ve been released from Twitter’s Conservative Jail ??— Karoline Leavitt (@kc_leavitt) May 6, 2021
This was not an “error,” as Twitter claimed. This was another purge in their ongoing effort to silence conservatives voices!
We cannot back down to Big Tech Giants! Our movement is too important! https://t.co/RfY4HjwOut
Why does this ONLY happen to conservatives?!— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) May 6, 2021
Because Big Tech is corrupt. That’s why. https://t.co/fl3WFoDzqb
As Cristiano Lima for Politico reported:
A couple of hours later, a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement that the “account was suspended in error.” It was not immediately clear how long the aide’s account had been suspended.
“This has been reversed, and the account has been reinstated. The account's followers will take 24-48 hours to fully restore,” the spokesperson said.
The company did not elaborate on what prompted the initial suspension and declined to comment on Stefanik’s remarks. After being reinstated, Leavitt called the brief suspension "another purge in their ongoing effort to silence conservatives voices!"
Stefanik also rejected Twitter’s explanation for the suspension during an appearance on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast later Thursday morning. “They said it was a mistake, but again, it only happens to conservatives,” she said.
The action by Twitter, Stefanik added, “is a reason why we need to break up big tech” and repeal Section 230, the 1996 law which offers legal immunity to a wide range of online companies.
Other conservatives say they're having problems with their Twitter accounts as well, like Dana Loesch.
Twitter still deleting hundreds of followers daily, just this afternoon, in fact. Hundreds of thousands at this point. I’ve had to refollow my own husband twice. pic.twitter.com/AUkWWpWyel— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) May 5, 2021
In January, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) was banned from his Facebook page, also in "error."
With no explanation other than "repeatedly going against our community standards," @Facebook has blocked me from managing my page. Never have we received notice of violating community standards in the past and nowhere is the offending post identified. pic.twitter.com/EdMyW9gufa— Ron Paul (@RonPaul) January 11, 2021
The timing of the suspension could hardly be more coincidental, for multiple reasons.
Rep. Stefanik has been in the news lately because she is the favorite to replace the embattled Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who is predicted to be ousted as the chair of the House Republican Conference in an upcoming vote. Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is the second-highest ranking Republican in the House has endorsed Stefanik for such a role, as has President Donald Trump.
Republicans have also been particularly vocal about the concerns with letting big tech getting too big, and the need to break up social media platforms, as well as get rid of Section 230 which shields tech firms from liability over third-party content on their platforms.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has also been vocal in raising concerns. His book, "The Tyranny of Big Tech" came out earlier this week.
If we are to give Twitter the benefit of the doubt and believe that the suspension did come in "error," a big if, but let's just say we do for the sake of arguing, they've very much hurt themselves and their image. For who can blame people for being so distrustful when conservatives like those above are a very small sample of those whose accounts have been affected.