The social media realm has been shaken to its core in the wake of a violent riot on Capitol Hill this week, including the suspension of President Donald Trump’s accounts on various platforms.
In response to Twitter’s decision to ban the president, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh stood in solidarity by deleting his own Twitter account.
Temporary ban becomes permanent
Limbaugh had roughly 600,000 followers when he pulled the plug on his profile.
The move came amid widespread actions by Big Tech companies who suspended or banned Trump-related accounts or those belonging to the president himself under the guise of halting potential incitement to more violence.
Twitter’s original suspension only extended for 12 hours following the civil unrest in D.C., which was led by pro-Trump protesters opposed to the results of the Electoral College vote tally.
When the suspension was lifted, the president posted a video message calling on his supporters to halt the violence and return home. He also posted a follow-up message making it clear that he would not be attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration later this month.
Twitter moderators took the tweet as a possible signal to extremists that it would be safe to stir up further unrest at that event on January 20 without putting the president in danger.
“Regardless of the circumstances”
As a result, the social media site announced its permanent ban, resulting in an uproar among his supporters — including Limbaugh.
Early reports suggested the host’s account had been part of a larger purge of right-wing voices on the platform on Friday, but subsequent updates clarified that he made the choice to step away from Twitter.
Shortly after the riot in D.C., Limbaugh raised eyebrows for seeming to side with those who violently breached the U.S. Capitol building, telling his audience: “There’s a lot of people calling for the end of violence. There’s a lot of conservatives on social media who say that any violence or aggression at all is unacceptable regardless of the circumstances. I am glad Sam Adams, Thomas Paine, the actual Tea Party guys, the men at Lexington and Concord didn’t feel that way.”
A number of high-profile conservatives abandoned Twitter for a more friendly alternative known as Parler.
After Apple threatened to remove the site from its app store, however, Google made the decision to erase it from the Play Store, meaning users with an Android phone would no longer be able to access the platform until Parler meets demands for “robust” content moderation practices.