70,000 Conspiracy Theorists Just Like Tony Ortega

It has been a tumultuous week in America. While the nation’s capital may have been the initial epicenter of the unrest, fallout across social media platforms in the wake of the rioting continues to reverberate.

One of the tremors affecting social media at the moment caught our attention here at the blog in particular — namely, the bold move by Twitter on Monday to remove more than 70,000 accounts that promoted conspiracy theories in recent days. Many have seen the move by the company aimed at widening its crackdown on content that could incite violence.

All of this got us thinking about another user who routinely uses Twitter to incite chaos through conspiracy, division by deception, and physical confrontations as means of creating conflict.

His name is Tony Ortega.

As Twitter began carrying out the suspensions of ‘conspiracy theorists’s accounts over the weekend, one wonders if Tony Ortega didn’t suddenly feel a cold sweat trickle down his neck, followed by an urgent desire to start deleting more than a few of his past posts. After all, if anyone meets the definition of crank peddler of crackpot conspiracies, surely it is Tony Ortega!

In explaining its approach, Twitter said it acted to clamp down on posts that have “the potential to lead to offline harm.” Well, as it happens, that’s just like Tony Ortega.

Remember that time Ortega’s own protégé, John McGhee, found himself convicted by an Irish court after assaulting an innocent Scientologist and the gentleman with her? It was a classic example of the violent and vindictive rhetoric Tony Ortega uses on Twitter spilling out and inciting others to act in harmful ways.

Twitter went on to add that many of the users who were removed had been operating multiple conspiracy accounts, driving up the total number of accounts that were taken down.

Which reminded us of a recent post we made which exposed how Tony Ortega uses his multiple online presences to crosspost ad nauseam, so as to make it appear as though his hateful stories are popular.

Much in the same way, Twitter explains how a similar tactic is being used by the conspiracy theorists it has begun blocking, saying in a blog post:

These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful [content] at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service.”

Just like Tony Ortega.

As social media companies begin rushing to distance themselves from the violent, conspiracy theorists who push their lies using online platforms we suggest they also take a good look at Twitter accounts like Ortega’s.

We believe these accounts more than meet Twitter’s new ‘conspiracy criteria’ necessary for indefinite suspension. Because as long as they exist they will  continue to be an embarrassment and a dangerous liability for Twitter

… Just like Tony Ortega.

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