Twitter’s terms of service say the platform doesn’t need a reason to terminate users or meddle with user content, and it appears its warning was no bluff.
Josh LeKach’s show Wrong Opinion engages with anti-establishment and radically pro-free speech figures. His twitter verification badge was stripped after he interviewed Florida congressional primary candidate Laura Loomer. Loomer made a name for herself as a Jewish-American right-wing provocateur whose performance art and protests resulted in having multiple Big Tech and payment processing platforms blacklist her. She theorized that Big Tech has censored controversial conservative figures like herself as “patient zero” in order to see how much censorship they can get away with.
Loomer’s following was reportedly massive. She said that she had “265,000 followers on Twitter” and that metrics indicated she “was reaching 150 million” impressions per month.
After the interview, LeKach tweeted May 23: “I interviewed Laura Loomer yesterday, and today my Twitter verification badge is gone.” Twitter verification is crucial because it proves a public figure is legitimate and protects their identity from being stolen by fake accounts.
The podcast episode discussed was destined to enrage leaders at Big Tech and the political establishment. Lekach, who usually charges a membership fee for his content on Patreon posted the episode for free to listeners. The conversation condemned GOP leadership for allegedly being paid off to turn a blind eye to Big Tech censorship. The episode also shredded famous conservative media/podcast hosts for being too scared to stand up for censored figures.
“Censorship really is un-American,” Loomer lamented, and described how the Big Tech censorship and deplatforming of conservatives pushed her to run for office. “I was deplatformed everywhere, became the most banned woman in the world,” and “my own bank shut me down.” That encouraged her to ask, “[W]ho’s advocating for these people who are having their civil rights violated? Nobody.”
Loomer stressed that “it really is, in my opinion, the most important and most pressing campaign issue of this election cycle” because “[i]t threatens the core of what we are as a country.”
Lekach asked Loomer why politicians are not taking decisive action to stop this, and she replied, “Because they’re bought and paid for.” She claimed that Americans can look up FEC campaign contribution reports to see that people are getting campaign funding from Big Tech companies.
Loomer condemned politicians on both sides of politics for “selling off America’s First Amendment Rights to the highest bidder in Silicon Valley or to whichever Big Tech lobbyist walks into your office on Capitol Hill that day.”
She then went on to discuss “Big Tech tyranny” such as when social media companies spy on their users. Loomer specifically brought up how contact tracing API was included in apple’s latest update, “These big tech companies are gonna be surveilling you on your personal devices.”
Loomer scorched figures in the conservative movement who will talk about censorship, but refuse to engage with people who have actually been deplatformed:
“If you wanna know about deplatforming and censorship why don’t ya actually talk to someone who’s been deplatformed? You know, this isn’t rocket science, folks, and apparently it’s just really hard for these people to understand that there’s a whole community of people out there who have actually been deplatformed. We don’t just talk about it for the sake of selling books and making money on YouTube.”