In recent months, Twitter has modified its account verification process to expand the public’s ability to obtain a blue tick. However, some have been hurt amid the readjustments. In August the process was suspended after verifying fake accounts but resumed weeks later.
Interestingly, in recent days there has been an increase among conservative voices whose verifications have been revoked. The most recent of these was the director of the Latino edition of the Media Research Center (MRC Latino), journalist Jorge Bonilla, who denounced this Friday that Twitter removed the verification symbol from his official account, claiming that the account had been “incorrectly verified.”
“Twitter alleges the account was “incorrectly verified”, despite total compliance with
verified parameters,” Bonilla tweeted.
For its part, the platform explained, through an email sent to the journalist, that it was reviewed and incorrectly verified. However, for Bonilla, as his account has never been suspended or forced to remove content, the journalist has other suspicions.
Bonilla believes that a video he posted in which an interviewee claims on Univision that the United States could have prevented the terrorist attack on the Kabul airport could have something to do with the platform’s decision.
He also noted that his constant sarcastic posts regarding Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could have something to do with it.
The demonstrations of solidarity were not long in coming. Twitter also recently removed verification from conservative author and committed Critical Race Theory detractor Christopher Rufo after he issued reports about Big Tech.
In response to the mention in Bonilla’s tweet, Rufo commented, “wow, weird.”
Legal counsel and president of Unsilenced Majority, Mike Davis, commented that “Big Tech colludes with Big Government and Big Media to delegitimize, censor, and even cancel those who don’t fall in line.”
Daniel Garza, president of The Libre Initiative, said, “If folks at Twitter are coming after all of us freedom-minded Latinos now, I’m living on borrowed time.”
Big Tech and the battle to silence conservatives
But, Bonilla isn’t the only conservative voice facing unverification on Twitter this week. Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo also lost his verification badge on the platform. In addition, according to News Buster, he was the target of a “government-backed attack.”
The conservative activist claimed that Google, one of the most powerful companies in the world, has adopted Critical Race Theory as an ideology. “Google has launched an “antiracism” initiative claiming that America is a “system of white supremacy” and that all Americans are “raised to be racist”” Rufo wrote on Twitter.
Several conservatives have warned about Twitter’s censorship of those who promote ideas of freedom. For example in 2020 then-President Donald Trump assured that he would take action against the company for its regulations against conservatives.
“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,” Trump stated from his Twitter account, which had not yet been suspended.
The battle by the big tech companies against conservatives is not only about eliminating verification of their accounts, but also includes the removal of content.
In Trump’s case, since he left the U.S. presidency, he has been censored by Big Tech, such as Twitter and YouTube. In March, the former president’s family denounced Facebook’s censorship of an interview with his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump.
In the notification they received from Facebook, it is reported that the accounts that publish content of the former president could have additional limitations. On the other hand, his son Eric Trump said that it is a disgusting fact: “This is so horrible — what is our country becoming?!”
Similar is the case of Florida Gov. Ron De Santis, who has taken on Big Tech in a forceful manner. In May, the Republican took a momentous step. He signed SB 7072, which aims to shield Florida citizens, politicians and the state’s press from Big Tech censorship.
De Santis argued that it is a measure to prevent Big Tech from advancing behavior he described as similar to those used in regimes such as Cuba and Venezuela.
“Many in our state have experienced censorship and other tyrannical behavior firsthand in Cuba and Venezuela. If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable,” DeSantis said, during a press conference.
That was not the first time DeSantis referred to Big Tech’s unchecked power. The governor has reiterated on several occasions that what is happening is “Orwellian” and has assured that many media outlets claim to defend freedom of speech, but in reality “they are cheerleaders of censorship.”
De Santis agrees with Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who highlighted before the Senate the power that the media was having in the lives of Americans. During an appearance by the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google, Cruz questioned Twitter’s owner about his actions in removing content the company deems ” fake.”
“Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear? Why do you persist in behaving as a Democratic super PAC, silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?” said Cruz against Jack.
Cruz also recounted that he was unable to share on his account a New York Post story about corruption involving then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The battle between Big Tech and conservatives won’t end anytime soon. Former President Trump filed a lawsuit against Big Tech last July, backed by the nonprofit America First Policy Institute, after Facebook and Twitter decided to block him permanently.
Trump’s lawsuit will be on behalf of all the people who have been censored, who will also be able to join the legal battle.