In response, many who are critical of the massive expenditure to Ukraine, and of the US involvement in a war against Russia at all, took to Twitter to express their disdain. They were banned, and many speculated that it was bots who were to blame.
Many accounts shared a photo of the two most powerful women in American politics, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who are second and third in line for the presidency respectively, hoisting high the flag of Ukraine in the US Congress while Zelensky spoke to that body.
Dozens of accounts were summarily banned after criticizing the visit, Zelensky, the US' involvement in Ukraine, and the horrifying vision of the Ukrainian flag being raised in Congress.
Zelensky was treated to cheers, a standing ovation, and multiple rounds of applause. The flag being raised above Congress added insult to the injury of Zelensky asking for cash, in addition to his stating outright that no matter what the US was giving him it would not be enough.
"I'm now getting reports of tons of accounts that were locked out our tweets that were taken down for posting images of Zelensky's speech last night and being critical of him Seems to be a mass takedown campaign by Twitter," Jack Posobiec reported.
This after prominent account ALX was suspended pending deletion of his tweet criticizing Ukraine, Pelosi and Harris.
Elon Musk replied to Posobiec's post about ALX, saying that he was looking into it as the "tweet doesn’t violate ToS."
Posobiec offered "Update, could be a mass-reporting situation by trolls or state actors." The idea is that the tweets critical of Zelensky could have been the target of a mass-reporting campaign, with the intention of silencing anti-Zelensky sentiment on the platform.
Former Trump administration official who served in the State Department and the Department of Defense William Wolfe said he was "back after an entirely arbitrary and unfounded suspension." He had tweeted out the photo of Harris and Pelosi as well, saying "When we say 'clown world' this is what we mean." For that tweet, he was slapped with a 12 hour ban.
The Columbia Bugle simply tweeted the photo with "Bring a check next time," and that caught a ban. The report from Twitter said the ban was for "Violating our rules against posting or sharing privately produced/distributed intimate media of someone without their express consent." But of course, the image was a screen shot from the live broadcast of Zelensky speech, and Congress' shilling for Zelensky, that was broadcast across many channels.
"Combat veteran @BowTiedRanger was locked out of his account after mass false reports were filed against him by a bot army triggered by his comments critical of Zelensky and the $100,000,000,000 looting of tax dollars by Republicans in Congress," Mike Cernovich reported.
"He tells me it may have been a reverse-image search mass report campaign," Posobiec reported, and given that all of these bans were for the image, it appears that this is the case.
"This picture makes me want Russia to win," the account had tweeted.
Kristen Ruby, who reported on internal workings at Twitter amid the Twitter Files drops, said that "The answer is in the ML [machine learning]. Based on the data, the tweet *does* violate Twitter's former political misinfo policy re detection/ param list. If those parameters are not gutted or retrained- this will keep happening. The algorithm is doing exactly what it was trained to do."
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