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  • Vishal P. Singh

Purge lists, Nazi bots, and the richest man on Earth— this is the story of my Twitter suspension

“Let the purge begin,” they said. That was what was written on the post sharing the infamous “Antifa” list being circulated online by neo-Nazis and fascist groups. It seems to have originated from a small right-wing Telegram account with less than a thousand followers. It was amplified by The Western Chauvinist, a hardcore Nazi community (for context: they spent this morning complaining that Adolf Hitler didn’t use enough poison gas against Jewish people). Naturally, as an anti-fascist journalist, my Twitter profile is in their “list” of targets to be purged.

After sharing the “antifa” list with their thousands of rabid fans, the Western Chauvinist re-shared a post from another neo-Nazi which boasted about a bot automated to make mass false reports against every profile in the list— a clear and direct abuse of the Twitter report system. The goal here is to purge anyone from Twitter who is against fascism and white supremacy. As you can see, the bot can move faster than any human being can.

In addition to lists and bots from online neo-Nazis, far-right agitators have been spamming Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter and the richest man on Earth, with requests to remove anti-fascist accounts from Twitter. Many of these requests rely on false information or outright lies. And Musk has favorably responded to the fascists who lobby him— provided they show him adequate respect and loyalty. One of the profiles Musk was told about was mine. And so, within hours of fascists complaining to Elon Musk about me while Nazis simultaneously circulated a purge list with my name on it AND programmed bots to report every profile in the list— my Twitter profile was suspended. The original Nazi-allied Telegram account that posted the original list has essentially taken credit for taking my account down, as have the fascists who lobbied Elon Musk personally.

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