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29 May, 2019 23:42

Twitter bans researcher who exposed journalist ties to Antifa

Twitter bans researcher who exposed journalist ties to Antifa

A researcher based in Germany was suspended from Twitter on the same day he published an article exposing the troubling connections of more than a dozen journalists to Antifa. There was no official explanation for the ban.

On Wednesday, the journal Quillette published a lengthy article by the Stuttgart-based researcher Eoin Lenihan, mapping a network of connections between fifteen Twitter-verified journalists and “Antifa” activists they covered – often approvingly and unquestioningly.

Within hours, however, Lenihan’s Twitter account was gone. The company gave no reason for the suspension. Quillette editor Andy Ngo speculated that he was mass-reported by Antifa activists trying to suppress the results of his research.

Lenihan and his research partner analyzed almost 60,000 accounts associated with Antifa and found fifteen “verified national-level journalists” covering the movement in such a fashion that they mainly downplayed Antifa violence while advancing the activists’ talking points:

...we couldn’t find a single article, by any of them, that was markedly critical of Antifa in any way.

He highlighted three examples: a former Al Jazeera producer, and current writers for Guardian and HuffPo.

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Even so, Lenihan went out of his way to point out he agreed with Antifa’s officially professed goal, and agree that many of the individuals they target “do indeed harbor noxious, hateful, bigoted and even fascistic opinions.” His main objection was to the “intellectual dishonesty and disreputable methods” used in targeting them, and the unethical collusion of journalists with activists whose work they covered.

Lenihan’s suspension follows the ban of Nick Monroe, another journalist who documented connections between journalists and Antifa. Monroe was banned on Tuesday, with Twitter saying he had been suspended before under a different name, so his present account was in violation of terms of service.

Monroe admitted he had other accounts several years ago, during the “GamerGate” controversy, but countered that he had been doing hard journalism ever since.

“Unlike other news reporters on Twitter, Monroe often revisited months-old threads with updates and compiled his research in Twitter Moments, making them easy to reference,” Ian Miles Cheong, an editor at conservative journal Human Events, wrote in response to Monroe’s ban, adding that the “snapshots of the political zeitgeist” he created were flushed by Twitter “down the memory hole,” referencing a term from George Orwell’s dystopia 1984.

Human Events publisher Will Chamberlain has argued that platform access is a civil right that should not depend on whims of social media companies.

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