Conservative Bias? Twitter Bans Famous 'Resistance' Heroes
from the less-Krass,-more-class dept
Social media’s war on conservatives continues, this time taking out accounts linked to… the so-called #Resistance?
Twitter has permanently banned prominent anti-Trump brothers Brian and Ed Krassenstein, alleging that two of the biggest stars of #Resistance Twitter had broken the site’s rules about operating fake accounts and purchasing fake interactions with their accounts.
“The Twitter Rules apply to everyone,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. “Operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions are strictly prohibited. Engaging in these behaviors will result in permanent suspension from the service.”
When not fawning over G-men-turned-Resistance heroes like James Comey, they were hammering F5 on Donald Trump’s Twitter page. They may not have been the first to respond, but they were some of the accounts that did the most business, racking up retweets and likes with each amateurish counter to Trump’s latest announcement, assertion, or declaration of fake news.
Now, there’s the question of how much of that Twitter business was legit. The Krassensteins claim nothing about this was inorganic. They deny buying followers or bots to give their accounts more prominence and rack up more internet points.
It could be Twitter is mistaken. Moderation at scale is hard, as has been hammered home by several posts here recently. What Twitter thought it saw happening with the Krassensteins’ accounts may have been benign, rather than malignant.
But the Krassensteins’ past as grifters may be indicative of current behavior.
Long before they took up the #Resistance mantle, the Krassensteins began hawking dubious investment advice—way back in 2003—on a pair of internet forums, selling ads to online money-making operations that included a number of apparent scams, including some run by people later convicted on charges ranging from fraud to capital murder.
According to prosecutors, the services the Krassensteins promoted on their websites duped thousands of “investors” into funding Ponzi scheme-type scams and even resulted in some downloading a virus that emptied their accounts on an anonymous online-payment platform used by the Krassensteins themselves, before it was shut down as part of a major federal money-laundering investigation.
Whether you view the Krassensteins as opportunists or brave speakers of truth to power, the conclusion here is inescapable: Twitter doesn’t just target conservatives for removal. While it appears this moderation happens far more often to conservatives, Hanlon and his razor suggest prominent alt-right accounts are engaging in questionable behavior more frequently than those without this particular slant. A lot has been made of social media’s supposedly-leftist stance, but it’s just as likely far right grifters like Laura Loomer and Jacob Wohl violated the terms of service repeatedly before being permabanned.
The banning of the Krassenstein brothers won’t budge the needle on this debate, though. Both sides have plenty of circumstantial evidence to point to as evidence of social media bias. And Twitter is still routinely suspending accounts that no one believes have violated the Twitter Rules, only to reinstate them after a bit of investigation, suggesting Twitter’s moderation efforts are far from perfect and unlikely to ever reach a point that will satisfy its many critics.