Some time ago, Twitter decided it could get along without accommodating the wibblings of Carl Benjamin, who styles himself Sargon of Akkad. He was banned for blatantly and persistently breaking the platform’s T&Cs. But then he was elevated to the status of wannabe European politician by UKIP leader Adolf von Batten, and placed second on the party’s list for South West England in next month’s European Parliament Elections.
As a result, a new Twitter account called @CarlUKIP sprang up. It was claimed that this was not a ban evasion attempt, as the account was run by his staff, but few observers were fooled. Also, Benjamin was believed to be the presence behind the @warplanpurple and @backworldsman1 accounts. He’d been indulging in ban evasion on an extensive scale. It duly came to pass that Twitter agreed - and banned @CarlUKIP.
After the Tweeter known as Fluctibus Fludd subtly alerted Twitter “Hey welcome back Ukip Carl Benjamin aka Sargon of Akkad - aren't you banned on @Twitter? So great of @TwitterSupport to let you circumvent the ban!” (well, maybe not so subtle) the ban hit.
And who should protest it most vehemently but Russia Today (“‘How is this not meddling?’ Twitter bans Tommy Robinson, Sargon of Akkad campaign accounts”) and hard right US site The Gateway Pundit (“MORE ELECTION MEDDLING? Twitter Bans UKIP Campaign Account for Carl Benjamin, Better Known as Sargon of Akkad”).
The blubbering from other Tweeters was something to behold. Tim Pool carped “Twitter is now directly interfering in political elections by banning only some candidates access to the platform. In the US we have the Equal Time Rule for TV and radio, not sure what the UK has but this seems extremely dystopian”. And Nick Monroe went ape over the news, with “Twitter CENSORS Political Campaign For Sargon of Akkad, Carl Benjamin”.
UKIP frothed “Official UKIP MEP Campaign account @CarlUKIP of which Carl Benjamin has no access to has been suspended from @Twitter. This is election interference, and UKIP will get to the bottom of this”. UKIP, the arse end of politics. There was more.
“I’m not a fan of either Tommy Robinson or ‘Sargon of Akkad’; but the political decision of Twitter to ban their campaign accounts is a sinister attack on democracy and freedom of speech” … “Court ruled people MUST have access to politicians on twitter to the point they can’t ban anyone” [wrong] … “Russia does have a point here. You are directly disrupting election campaigns here. The timing is quite suspicious. This is direct meddling. Also the accusations of ban evasion are clearly politically motivated”. Wrong again.
Then the tinfoil hat brigade arrived. “@10DowningStreet Did you get your buddys [sic] at Twitter to ban Tommy Robinson and Sargon of Akkad. No one will notice I'm sure. Campaign accounts of candidates well how can that be meddling?” Followed by the clown from Spiked. “Will the @brexitparty_uk back democracy by fighting this censorship by media giants?” The Brexit Party. Democracy. When Farage runs it by diktat.
Sadly, as one commenter pointed out, there was a straightforward explanation. “Wrong. Sargon was banned from twitter. His campaign account breaks TOS: ‘ban evasion’”. That was all it was. Benjamin broke the rules. He got caught. Deal with it, eh Carl?
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