When confronted with a fascist movement, it’s worth remembering that fascism, for all its populist trappings, serves the elite. That’s really where its power comes from. The people involved are genuine reactionaries, and monstrous people, but the movement is sustained and directed by the limitless wealth of the ruling class. It’s also worth remembering that fascists don’t really value anything other than power and victory, so they will happily claim the protections of “free speech” as part of their campaign to utterly eliminate that freedom. This is why it’s not surprising that Elon Musk, one of those at the very top of the ruling class, bought twitter promising to protect freedom of speech, and then immediately turned around and started banning people, including those he specifically said he would not ban.
Chad Loder is an anti-fascist journalist and activist, who exposed a member of the Proud Boys involved in the coup attempt of January 6, 2021, as well as the machinations of fascists like Andy Ngo. He was from Twitter back in November, as part of a larger pattern of catering to the far right. It always seemed likely that Musk, who has increasingly shown himself to be a reactionary man-child, was directly involved in this purge, but now it seems we actually have proof:
A leaked internal Twitter message appears to show that Elon Musk directly ordered staff to suspend a left-wing activist’s account on the social-media platform.
Bloomberg said it viewed a screenshot of the message in question, involving the account of Chad Loder, which read: “Suspension: direct request from Elon Musk.”
Loder, who uses they/them pronouns, describes themself on their Mastodon profile as a community activist, cybersecurity expert, and citizen journalist. Their investigation into the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 led to the arrest of a masked member of the far-right Proud Boys organisation who’d attacked police officers, The Intercept reported.
Musk has described himself politically as “somewhere in the middle” but encouraged his followers to vote Republican the day before November’s midterm elections.
This story’s publication resulted in an exchange between Musk and the prominent right-wing journalist Andy Ngo, who shared a series of screenshots purporting to show past tweets from Loder advocating violence. Insider couldn’t independently verify the tweets because of Loder’s account suspension.
In response to Ngo, Musk tweeted: “I don’t know this person at all, but explicit threats of violence obviously violate Twitter ToS,” or terms of service.
Loder’s account was one of several prominent left-wing accounts suspended by Twitter in November 2022.
Loder told Insider’s Sawdah Bhaimiya they suspected the suspension resulted from an “organized mass-reporting campaign,” whereby a right-wing group published a Substack blog with instructions on how to falsely report breaches of Twitter’s rules by particular accounts — with Loder’s profile listed near the top.
On Tuesday, Twitter reinstated the account of prominent white nationalist Nick Fuentes, only for it to be banned again inside 24 hours.
In a since-deleted tweet in October, Musk promoted a conspiracy theory about the attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of former house speaker Nancy Pelosi.
J.M. Berger, an expert on social-media extremism, previously told Insider: “I think he’s intentionally empowering right-wing extremists.”
Not only that, but I don’t think there’s any reason to expect that he will stop empowering right-wing extremists. Their agenda is both flattering to his ego, and helpful to his greed. I don’t know that messing with twitter will reshape the world the way he or his fans might wish, but at the end of the day, he’s still immensely powerful, and he’s still using that power to limit the reach of people whose opinions he dislikes. There’s not a whole lot we can do about this, directly, it can’t hurt to make sure it’s talked about as we keep working to end that particular kind of power altogether. It’s likely that much the next few decades will be shaped, for the worse, by the whims of billionaires. As that’s happening, it’s important to remember that no matter what they say, what they are doing is supporting the far right, and suppressing the left.
“There’s not a whole lot we can do about this, directly,”
Stop using Twitter.
Stop reading Twitter.
Stop quoting Twitter.
Stop talking about Twitter.
Stop caring if someone is banned from Twitter.
Encourage others to do the same.
Starve it of relevance.
Abe Drayton says
@Sonofrojblake – The personal decision to boycott or not does nothing to change the abusive power of capitalists. The problem isn’t “twitter bad”, the problem is that one person has enough power to just fuck with society.