The far right believes it has a friend in Elon Musk. And why shouldn’t it.
Right Side News – “News from the RIGHT side” – an extreme right-wing, conspiracy theory and propaganda outlet, posted the following on the social media platform Telegram last week:
The social media post and list immediately began to sweep the internet.
“Let’s get to work” is thought to mean the false reporting of accounts for violating Twitter policies. While one report may not result in action against an account, 500 reports could.
Pennsylvania news outlets including the Bucks County Beacon, its editor-in-chief Cyril Mychalejko and columnists Jennifer Cohn and William Horne, the Philadelphia Inquirer and its national political columnist Will Bunch, and WHYY News, along with mainstream politicians John Fetterman, Brian Sims, and Malcolm Kenyatta also appear on the “hit-list” of accounts to ban.
The catalog of names is not without rhyme or reason. Many accounts are from swing states. Also included are some very outspoken critics of extremism, fascism, Christian nationalism, militias and ultra-right-wing agendas.
A cursory view would seem to indicate that scraping software – programs that seek out specific key phrases and other designated data – was possibly used to populate the list. This explains why Libs of Tiktok, Sesame Street, and the FBI also found its way on the list, unless of course the listmakers suffer from John Birch Society-style paranoia.
Journalist Spencer Ackerman had an interesting take on this in his newsletter Forever Wars:
“But just because the list is ideologically incoherent doesn’t make it impossible to understand. Establishment institutions, government agencies and normie liberals is what a lot of right-wingers think of when they think of the Left, because a tremendous amount of media and political discourse defines the Left that way.”
The release of the 5,000 names follows the reinstatement of former president Trump, along with other toxic accounts, to the Twitter platform. At the same time, left-leaning accounts seem to be disappearing potentially due to unfounded suspensions or banishments.
Twitter is home to approximately 396.5 million users making the 5,000 accounts on the hit-list a relatively minuscule portion of the Twitterverse but, nevertheless, is troublesome.
If you’re on the list, and even if you’re not, many accounts with hundreds or thousands of followers are understandably concerned.
Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to safeguard your account from being falsely reported however protecting your Tweets is one step you may take. After all, bullies and bots can’t report what they cannot see.
When you protect your Tweets, all of your followers will still be able to see your current and prior postings. New followers, however, must secure your permission prior to viewing your timeline or interacting with your account.
Here’s how to do it: Go to Settings and Privacy. Look for Privacy and Safety, then click on Audience and Tagging and you will see Protect Your Tweets that you may toggle into action. You will know you were successful if, when you view your profile, you see a padlock by your name.
Given that more than half of all Twitter employees, pre-Musk, are no longer employed, there’s no doubt that a bumpy road lies ahead.
If you’re planning to stay, buckle up.
Sign up for the Bucks County Beacon’s newsletter to make sure you never miss a story just in case Musk entertains this far-right wish list.