After banning President Donald Trump and other conservatives from its platform on Friday, Twitter allowed the phrase “Hang Pence” to trend on the site, and as of Saturday, the trend is still up.
Twitter’s rationale for banning the president was that he risked inciting violence with his presence online following Wednesday’s Capitol incursion. But the company hasn’t explained why such a vile and threatening trend is still taking over the site.
Reporter Yashar Ali, who is no conservative, called out the company for the violent language spreading on the platform.
“WTF why is this allowed to trend? I get that people have been tweeting it to quote some of the insurrectionists but it shouldn’t be allowed to trend,” Ali asked.
A screen shot of the trend showed that at the time, “Hang Pence” had been tweeted more than 14,000 times. That number currently stands at 83,000 such tweets.
WTF why is this allowed to trend?
I get that people have been tweeting it to quote some of the insurrectionists but it shouldn’t be allowed to trend. pic.twitter.com/HTlSYnoB5y
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) January 9, 2021
“Why @Jack is Hang Pence still trending? Hey Google didn’t you remove Parler because of something similar – why is Twitter getting such special treatment ( : ,” she tweeted.
Why @Jack is Hang Pence still trending? Hey Google didn’t you remove Parler because of something similar – why is Twitter getting such special treatment ( :
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) January 9, 2021
The fact that Twitter is allowing the phrase to trend is raising eyebrows elsewhere, as the users Twitter hasn’t banned yet for apparently being conservative want some answers.
According to Steven Dennis, a reporter with Bloomberg, the phrase is trending because of a video which showed Trump supporters chanting the phrase before the Capitol incursion on Wednesday.
“Hang Pence’ is trending because of a viral video of a riotous mob chanting those words as they violently entered the Capitol,” wrote Dennis.
‘Hang Pence’ is trending because of a viral video of a riotous mob chanting those words as they violently entered the Capitol. https://t.co/PZXTO1fN2h
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) January 9, 2021
Video of the mob chanting “hang Mike Pence.” pic.twitter.com/K4EcKK2rab
— American Times Film (@ExportedFromMI) January 9, 2021
But despite what might have been uttered on Wednesday by some who were in Washington Wednesday to protest certifying the election results, the tweets definitely violate Twitter’s selectively enforced on policies advocating for violence. Those policies were of course used in justifying Trump’s lifetime ban.
Is there anything more capable of inspiring violence than logging on to social media and seeing a phrase calling for the lynching of the vice president permeating across the platform? This appears to be another example of Twitter’s unequal application of policies allegedly meant to protect users’ safety and the safety of those off the platform.
But what is Twitter, if not hypocritical?
Twitter has been on a campaign purging high-profile conservatives, including the president, since Friday. What kind of message does the trend send for those whose vices have been silenced, or for those who have seen their followers purged, when such trends take over the conversation?
Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the damage by the purge:
Dang @jack this is a heck of haircut of followers I’m getting. Lots of folks complaining as the purge seems vindictive and politically motivated.
I don’t mind you jettisoning bots but they have free reign. Can you give me something I can share with others expressing concern?
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) January 8, 2021
Lost over 11k followers thus far today. Big Tech purge accelerating? https://t.co/W7bqX9avjF
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 8, 2021
I don’t care that much anymore, especially compared to our first world problems, but it’s weird that twice in the last few months I reached 312k followers & immediately started losing them. Now down to 308k in a few days. I haven’t tweeted enough lately to alienate that many IMHO
— David Limbaugh (@DavidLimbaugh) January 8, 2021
I’ve lost over 63,000 followers in 3 days. The picture on the left shows what was typical follower activity on my account for years up until mid Nov. 2020. The 2nd pic is from this week.
Our accounts are being systematically destroyed. It’s time for us to organize a mass exodus. pic.twitter.com/3HlJVb44j9
— Brandon Straka (@BrandonStraka) January 9, 2021
Yesterday I had 2.7 million followers. This morning I have 2.5 million. Fear and fascism go hand in hand. What are you so afraid of, Jack?
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) January 9, 2021
Twitter told the New York Post the trend would be corrected, according to an article published Saturday.
“We blocked the phrase [Hang Pence] and other variations of it from trending. We want trends to promote healthy discussions on Twitter,” a Twitter representative told the Post. “There are Rules for trends — if we identify accounts that violate these rules, we’ll take enforcement action.”
But the trend is still up as of the time this article was being written.
Twitter is doing it right. Ban the president for violent tweets, but let “Hang Pence” be the top trending and not shut it down. Wonder who they voted for. pic.twitter.com/s1OW2JyE50
— Luke Townsend (@32luketown) January 9, 2021
The real message from Twitter seems to be that users are free to post potentially violent and threading comments, just as long as those users aren’t conservatives. As of Saturday, there are significantly fewer conservatives on the platform.
Twitter of course isn’t looking to promote safety, which is obvious. The “Hang Pence” trend is spreading like wildfire as Twitter has apparently been too busy stifling conservative dissenters to fix that issue.
At a time when free political discussions are arguably more important than ever, Twitter is shutting down any chance for people to engage in honest and open discussions. But as is evident by being able to tweet “Hang Pence” with no repercussions, the company has no interest in either safety or fairness.
Since this article began being drafted, the “Hang Pence” tag has now been tweeted more than 88,000 times. So much for public safety. The Twitter purge to end violence continues, despite ongoing posts from the left about hanging the vice president.
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