Microchip, a Gab.ai user that many cultural commentators are aware of, was heralded as the great “TrumpBot” by Buzzfeed reporter Rob Bernstein. During the 2016 presidential election, Microchip had created a system where he or she could force pro-Trump hashtags to fall under the “Trending” category of Twitter. According to one anonymous alt-right proponent, tracking Microchip’s location or unmasking his or her identity is impossible. Microchip has been waging a digital war against Twitter for years now, specifically against the media platform’s censorship policies.
On the morning of February 21, 2018, armies of conservative Twitter users found themselves locked out of their accounts. Ben Garrison, a well known political cartoonist, has reported that he has lost thousands of followers in an instant and that more are dropping like flies every second. Only conservative accounts are affected by this phenomenon. #TwitterLockout became a trending hashtag overnight.
#TwitterLockout – just saw 2k followers go poof~ What's up Twitter?
— BenGarrison Cartoons (@GrrrGraphics) February 21, 2018
In a matter of hours it seems twitter removed over 2,500 followers from my account.
Anyone else experiencing this today? #TwitterLockOut
— Veteran For Trump (@Veteran4Trump) February 21, 2018
Whoa! Looks like twitter just did another purge, I'm down 2.2k now. #TwitterLockout
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) February 21, 2018
Microchip acted as a leading figure in this phenomenon, writing periodic updates on his Gab.ai account, detailing the damage he and his army of bots wrecked. “I’m not sure [if] everyone is aware of how much damage we just inflicted on the Left, this was hitting 110 million impressions per day on just my account alone, that’s 3 billion per month,” Microchip stated in a post.
In less than 24 hours, Microchip and his group of misfits inflicted a “massive amount of damage,” “overloaded every trend globally,” and encouraged his locked out comrades to not be mad. “This happens,” he stated, “we’ll get through it, at least you weren’t banned.”
White nationalist Jared Taylor is suing Twitter over the suspension of his account, which Taylor’s lawyer considers to be a “form of censorship,” accusing Twitter of discrimination.
Censorship is a tool used by social engineers to control the words that can and cannot be spoken in civil discourse. By determining the opinions and terms that are to be cast into outer darkness, the censoring structures in place virtually control what one is permitted to think.