The integrity of Twitter as a democratic platform is again under scrutiny. This time, after permanently banning a political news aggregator account for a strange and minor offence.
Another day, another censorship storm involving Twitter.
The topical social media giant is under scrutiny after removing a popular political news aggregator account called Politics For All earlier this week. It has since specified that Twitter will not be reinstating the page.
Removed on the vague grounds of ‘platform manipulation and spam,’ Politics For All had garnered billions of impressions on its short and accessible political updates.
Aggregated from news outlets across the UK, these snippets attracted hundreds of thousands of followers including 300+ MPs and government ministers. Former Manchester United footballer Gary Neville retweeted the account regularly, and Gen Z business mogul Steve Bartlett revealed he also utilised it on WhatsApp.
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) January 5, 2022
Founded some 12 months ago, Politics For All received its largest surge in followers immediately after details of the Christmas Party scandal broke in early December.
Twitter has since argued that zeroing in on specific snippets from other outlets – whose stories received far less online attention – distorted events for maximum virality. Does seem a stretch, given that single quotes form the basis of traditional news stories every day.
The specific behaviour which led to Politics For All being permanently banned had been unknown until the backlash ignited. Now, Steve Bartlett has it on good authority that was for retweeting content from one of its other accounts (News For All).
I think the banning of politics for all on twitter is one of the shadiest things I’ve ever seen from a social media platform in my entire life.
Knowing the backstory and how and “why” it happened has made me deeply question the integrity of the people at Twitter.
— Steven Bartlett (@SteveBartlettSC) January 4, 2022
Who created the account?
The account had been created by 19-year-old Nick Moar and was being operated by team of ten 19-24-year-olds.
All are said to be big politics enthusiasts and were working towards building an independent, youth focused media brand. For now, it seems, they will have to do so without the blessing of Twitter.
Declining to comment on the exile of his account, Moar is said to be gearing up to launch an appeal. One member of the team stated: ‘The fact Twitter will allow the Taliban on their platform but not a simple news aggregator is quite something.’
Bartlett echoed this sentiment on his own Twitter, lamenting the ban as ‘one of the shadiest things I’ve [he’s] seen from a social media platform in my [his] life.’
He also claims that just days before the sanctions came to head ‘traditional media’ attempted to buy the channel from Moar for a seven-figure pay-out. Moar allegedly declined and days later his independent company was axed. ‘I’m not a conspiracy theorist but…’ Bartlett posted.