Tags: Cybersecurity | Donald Trump | Emerging Threats | Fox News | algorithms | censorship | conservatives

My War With Twitter Surely Looks, Feels Personal

social media noise and wars

 (Kharis Agustiar/Dreamstime.com)

By Tuesday, 09 February 2021 04:40 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Twitter’s apparent war on conservatives has removed hundreds of thousands of followers from prominent accounts. It silenced the former President of the United States by banning him for life, which was a little cruel, actually.

Some 213 congressional accounts on Twitter lost followers from Jan. 6 to Jan. 13, and 200 of them belonged to Republicans, USA Today reported.

Thirty-seven of these Republicans lost 10% of their followers or more.

But Twitter doesn’t stop there.

It stomps on even tiny accounts hosted by the un-famous.

That is, accounts like mine.

Cue the kids on "South Park." "You bastards."

In the past month, Twitter started thinning the ranks of my small following, perniciously and barely perceptibly.

Sometimes leaking just a few followers at a time, and at other times whacking dozens in a matter of hours, and always in the same direction: downward.

I know this because I have become obsessed with tracking the toll that Twitter is taking on my account, checking the numbers on my iPhone and taking screen shots of the totael very few days.

Or every few hours, depending on my mood.

Only after logging the daily drip-drip did the true extent of the Twitter drain become clear.

The horror, the horror.

It might be good to argue here that Twitter commits a troubling sin by stifling one brand of speech, in particular.

It errs, rashly and paternalistically, by intruding on our interactions as consenting adults on one of the premiere interactive communications platforms of the ages.

This intervention is a new form of ideological segregation, and it should be halted by Twitter or, if necessary, reined in by lawmakers.

None of that, however, is my real concern. My real concern is my own ego, okay?

Journalists are driven by ego, and I spent 30 years in the national media, leaving my last job as an anchor at Fox Business Network in 2014.

For me, Twitter is the last bastion where I can be heard by people who have chosen to hear from me. For now, anyway.

My followers hover near the 8,000 mark, which is why losing a batch of them can feel like a real kick in the most delicate of places.

One screenshot confirms that on Jan. 4, 2021, at 1:32 p.m., I had 7,791 followers.

Then came the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Two days later I was down 50, as if I had something to do with it.

I didn’t, I do solemnly swear.

By 10 o’clock that night, I had lost 70 more followers.

By 8:31 a.m. the next morning (Jan. 9) my Twitter posse was down by 51 more accounts.

Then another 115 followers departed in the next four days.

That brought my total down to 7,505 people, and by this week I was down another 50 followers yet again.

Was it something I said?

Meanwhile, Twitter also reduced my roster of accounts that I follow by a hundred, further stifling conservative conversation.

All told, I have lost 5% of my followers since early January, some 350 followers in all, and counting. Every time my total inches back up as new followers sign up for my feed, Twitter knocks it back down again.

It feels like I’m always sinking, gradually, in a losing a battle on an old StairMaster.

It's self-important and paranoid to think that the punk, pink-haired liberal arts majors on the Twitter censorship squad have any idea of my identity or possess any intent to whittle away at my audience.

They don't.

This is a matter of algorithms, most likely, but . . . must they be so brutal?

Dennis Kneale is a writer and media strategist in New York, after six years as anchor at CNBC and Fox Business Network and 25 years at The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. He helped write "The Trump Century: How Our President Changed the Course of History," by Lou Dobbs, published in September 2020 by HarperCollins. Read Dennis Kneale's reports — More Here.

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It's self-important and paranoid to think that the punk, pink-haired liberal arts majors on the Twitter censorship squad have any idea of my identity or possess any intent to whittle away at my audience.
algorithms, censorship, conservatives, followers
Tuesday, 09 February 2021 04:40 PM
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