Conservatives Are Upset They Are Losing Followers on Twitter

Abigail Covington
·2 min read
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images

From Esquire

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) wants you to know that he used to have way more followers.

The Florida man spent the weekend live-tweeting his dropping follower count. On Saturday morning, he had 892,000 followers. By the end of the day, he was down to 842,000. As of writing, he’s at 835,300. “I wish I could lose weight as fast as I’m losing followers during this Twitter purge....” bemoaned Gaetz.

He’s not the only one concerned about their precipitous drop in followers. Mike Pompeo posted an image of the recent changes in follower counts of several prominent politicians. All of the Republicans had lost followers while all of the Democrats had gained new ones. “This is how you create an echo chamber” Sec. Pompeo tweeted. In response, Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that she has lost 50,000 followers this week. According to social media analytics firm Socialblade, she’s actually lost closer to 70,000, all since Thursday. Before that, she was steadily gaining followers.

What could have possibly happened this week that is causing some of President Trump’s most ardent supporters to lose followers? Perhaps the storming of the capitol by a mob of Trump supporters has something to do with it. That insurrection led to the loss of at least one follower for Gaetz and Sanders — Donald J. Trump. On Friday, Twitter permanently suspended the outgoing president’s account.

As for the other hundred thousand or so, Twitter has a host of policies that, in light of Wednesday’s insurrection, might’ve led to the expulsion of additional users. Indeed, in a statement to NBC News, a Twitter spokesperson said "We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm, and given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content." Considering his warm embrace of QAnon conspiracy theories and candidates, it’s entirely possible that many of Gaetz’s followers were suspended for the reasons outlined in the statement above.

What conservatives are describing as Twitter’s silencing of conservative voices, seems to actually be an effort to stamp out disinformation in light of a violent insurrection that threatened our democracy. Whether or not that effort infringes on an individual’s freedom of speech is for constitutional lawyers to decide. In the meantime, it might behoove Sen. Gaetz and others to follow Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s advice and stop advertising that you’re losing followers, “the moment Twitter starts taking down Neo-Nazis and violent insurrectionists.”

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