Twitter has permanently suspended news aggregator Politics for All for violating the platform’s rules on “manipulation and spam”.
Other associated accounts including News for All and Football for All have also been suspended.
The accounts, which racked up hundreds of thousands of followers, quickly accumulated a vast audience by tweeting the key angle of a story before following it up with a link to the source, which was usually a mainstream news outlet.
There are a number of reasons why people think the accounts may have been removed, but let’s begin with what Twitter has said.
A Twitter spokesperson said the accounts were permanently suspended for violating the platform’s rules on “platform manipulation and spam.”
A Twitter message to the Politics for All team, seen by The Telegraph, said that “artificially amplifying or disrupting conversations through the use of multiple accounts” violates the platform’s rules.
This includes “overlapping accounts” with substantially similar or duplicative content that may interact with each other in a bid to inflate the prominence of a specific tweet or account.
Yet the exact behaviour that led to the suspension of the news aggregator remains unclear.
A Politics for All insider previously told Indy100 they have not been told why the accounts were banned, but expressed that they will be appealing the decision. They added that they are unsure whether the ban will be temporary or permanent.
Media lawyer David Banks said that there may have been copyright issues at play too.
In a Twitter thread, Banks said that as Politics for All would tweet the headline of a story before linking to the source in a second tweet, the first tweet would have garnered the majority of the attention. However, he said if this was the reason for the suspension he would have expected media companies to send cease and desists to Politics for All instead of going through Twitter.
This could possibly be the reason for the suspension - although if news media objected to this behaviour I would ha… https://t.co/IDAWefezPn
Cllr Chris Burden said that although aggregators are useful and it’s important that political coverage is made accessible, “their dejargonising strayed too far into decontextualising, and thus misinformation.”
The collapse of “… For All” is a loss and a gain.
There IS useful role for aggregators, and there is a useful role… https://t.co/u3TfxtodKc
— Cllr Chris Burden (@Cllr Chris Burden)
Who ran the accounts?
The first account was set up by Nick Moar, now 19, when he was 17. The Twitter accounts were run by a team of young staff.
According to The Telegraph, Moar is a conservative and pro-Brexit, but aimed for Politics for All to be impartial.
The teenager reportedly became the head of social for The Spectator last year.
How are people reacting to the bans?
The reaction on social media has been mixed.
The Independent’s Tom Peck welcomed the ban, accusing the account of “sensationalism, exaggeration and utterly shameless plagiarism”.
Politics For All, run by 19 year old Nick Moar, became very popular incredibly quickly through sensationalism, exag… https://t.co/x8EsIUKtcB
Former footballer Gary Neville branded the ban a “very dark move”, with Dragon’s Den star Steven Bartlett remarking that it is “one of the shadiest things I’ve ever seen from a social media platform in my entire life.”
So @Twitter has permanently banned @politicsforall . A very dark move. What the hell is going on?