Twitter users who simply expressed concern about a planned “transgender day of vengeance” in the wake of Monday’s school shooting by a woman who identified as a man were stunned when the platform punished them.
The day after three adults and three children were murdered at the Covenant School, Twitter slapped suspensions on at least six accounts with significant followings after they tweeted about a troubling rise of threatening rhetoric from some who claim to support “trans rights.” Twitter claimed the tweets violated rules against “violent speech,” which includes “shar[ing] abusive content, harass[ing] someone, or encourag[ing] other people to do so.”
Twitter suspended Daily Wire host Michael Knowles, who quoted a Bible verse next to a “trans day of vengeance” poster that pleads with people to leave “vengeance” for God. Daily Wire reporter Luke Rosiak, who tweeted a link to an article he wrote three weeks ago about the planned “trans day of vengeance,” was also suspended. Twitter then suspended Daily Wire News after it posted Rosiak’s article on the “trans day of vengeance.”
Federalist CEO Sean Davis, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) were also suspended from the platform earlier this week for what appear to be similar mentions of the “day of vengeance.” Taylor Greene’s account was active again on Wednesday, but as of Thursday afternoon, Davis’ account still appeared to be suspended.
Knowles’ and Rosiak’s accounts were restored on Thursday, but it remains unclear why Twitter punished the conservative users for raising awareness about the “trans day of vengeance.” Knowles had to delete the tweet to have his account restored, but immediately after getting back on Twitter Thursday, he posted the same verse — this time without including the photo of the poster. Rosiak appealed Twitter’s suspension of him, but after three days of not hearing back from the social media company, he deleted his tweet.
Ty Fahs, the president of the Miami Log Cabin Republicans, was also suspended by Twitter after he brought attention to a disturbing and violent threat made against Christians that was going around Twitter. The post included a photo of a person standing in front of a transgender flag, wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a semi-automatic rifle with a pistol on his or her hip. The tweet made violent threats against Christians, including calling for them to be beheaded and crucified.
Fahs, who has a verified Twitter account with over 14,000 followers, told The Daily Wire in a phone interview on Thursday that after his latest suspension, Twitter provided no information on why he was locked out of his account or how he could get back into it. Fahs said he had to email Twitter Vice President of Trust and Safety Ella Irwin to ask why he was suspended.
Irwin responded to Fahs’ email, saying that Twitter doesn’t “allow any violent threats on our platform in any form even if you are reposting an image with violent threats that was created by someone else.”
“I emailed her [back] and said contextually it was clear that I wasn’t inciting anything or endorsing anything,” Fahs said. “And crickets. They don’t give a s***.”
Fahs was forced to delete the tweet Wednesday evening before regaining access to his account.
Twitter was taken over by Tesla CEO Elon Musk last fall, and he promised to reform the platform and adhere to free speech principles. Fahs now wonders if Musk simply took advantage of a problem at Twitter to buy the company and make a profit without actually believing in the free speech ideals he claims to champion. Musk has not commented on the latest round of Twitter suspensions after being tagged in multiple tweets asking for an explanation.
“Truthfully, it’s really kind of business as usual,” Fahs said of Twitter after Musk’s takeover. “And a lot of lip service to ‘oh we’re cleaning this up,’ and it’s actually not solving anything. I’m still getting banned for literally saying truthful things.”
In a tweet thread on Wednesday, Twitter’s Safety department attempted to clarify its policies regarding what it allows on the platform. In the thread, Twitter Safety wrote, “If the media is being shared mainly for awareness we will not apply a strike or even a timeout for posting it. If you continue to repost the violating content, that will incur a strike and will result in escalating time outs.”
Twitter, however, does not appear to be following that protocol in how it dealt with tweets from Fahs, Knowles, Rosiak, and Daily Wire News. Twitter Safety did admit that it has a “bias” toward removing content that in its opinion “incite[s] violence.”
“There is a valid debate about whether we should/shouldn’t remove incitement related media,” Twitter Safety added. “Many different users believe their tweet should be allowed including the original creator of the media. We have biased [sic] towards not allowing Twitter to be used to incite violence.”
Twitter’s vice president of Trust and Safety did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.