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Twitter closing down last bastion of free speech

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(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Amidst election tampering fears, it is believed that Twitter is interfering with accounts that oppose the Morrison Government, putting them into Twitter "time out" or closing them down completely.

The first case that came to our attention was that of John Wren, an IA columnist, who prefers to remain anonymous — and with good reason, if his experienceis anything to go by:

'Yep. I’m still not back on Twitter. The ridiculous assertion of impersonation still stands, at least within Twitter’s environs. At least three requests have been made outlining the outlandishness of the charges, yet they have stubbornly refused to move.'

But since the Federal Election date was announced, this is happening to Twitter accounts at an alarming rate.

For Independent Australia, the basic human right to freedom of information is at the core of what we do. We believe in questioning power, standing up to it and exposing any ugly underbelly that may reside there. 

ONE SENATOR'S CONSPIRACY THEORIES

When Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells first spewed forth with her Twitter conspiracy theory – in which she singled out Twitter users, where they come from and how many times they Tweet, and referred to them as “part of a Russian Twitter jungle backed by a Labor-union fake news anti-Coalition cyber-manipulation campaign” — we called out the inaccuracies and fabrications of her claims.

One of the subjects of the Senator’s tirade, Ellie Large, wrote a piece for IA answering the ridiculous suggestions:

[Senator Fierravanti-Wells], you ask: "Who has either the inclination or the resources to, in the main, retweet 240 times a day, year upon year? I suggest that the description of many accounts as being operated by unionists offers a clue."

 

The answer is we do — ordinary dinky-di Australians, some of us members of the Labor Party, most not. However, we are united in caring deeply for our country and we are beyond disturbed by the disastrous mismanagement, the constant rorting, the ineptitude and the lack of proper representation for 99 per cent of us, displayed by your Coalition Government.

AFTER CHRISTCHURCH

When the Christchurch atrocity occurred, we were all shocked that some social media outlets allowed the madman’s sickening livestream to be broadcast — this is clearly abhorrent.

But when Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with social media companies in late March to list his Government's demands, we shifted uncomfortably. Would this newfound power entrusted to ‘a task force of government and social media giants’ stop at the removal of violent crime? 

ARE PEOPLE BEING SILENCED FOR OPPOSING VIEWS?

And most recently, as we near the Federal Election – about the same time as Fierravanti-Wells gave her second speech about the evils of Twitter to the Senate – Twitter accounts mysteriously began to disappear, temporarily, and in some cases permanently, from the Twittersphere.

The accounts to which we refer certainly did not live-stream terror attacks, they did not belong to trolls or spies, they were not abusive in content. The one characteristic they did share, however, was that they were outspoken and critical – often in merciless and meticulous detail – of the Government and its activities. These accounts include @MsVeruca, @rationalbitch, @noodles_romanov, @Donvoegt and @sirisgonerogue.

So stringent is the mechanism by which accounts are banned or confined to the "sin bin", as one Tweep put it, that a simple complaint to Twitter seems to suffice.

Is this a new tactic to silence opposing voices on the eve of the Federal Election?

If you believe you have been unfairly censored by Twitter, please let us know. 

This editorial was originally published as part of the Independent Australia weekly newsletter. These editorials are usually only available to subscribers and may be read online in the IA members only area.

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You can follow executive editor Michelle Pini on Twitter @vmp9. Follow Independent Australia on Twitter at @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

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