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Nick Fuentes is not mad. He's actually laughing.
White nationalist Nick Fuentes was reinstated and then re-banned from Twitter within roughly 24 hours. Can anyone explain why he was brought back in the first place?
White nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes (@NickJFuentes) had his Twitter account reinstated yesterday, but within barely more than twenty-four hours, Fuentes was suspended from Twitter once again. What happened in the meantime? Several tweets and a Twitter Spaces audio broadcast hosted by Fuentes which consistently maintained over 3,000 listeners. Nick performed a monologue much like his ‘America First’ livestream show he continues to put out on whatever platform still allows him to broadcast his material (there aren’t many). The other mainstream social media or video platforms have all banned Fuentes, which is what made Twitter’s decision to reinstate him so uniquely dangerous.
Some details on what took place in Fuentes’s Twitter Space are seen below.
Fuentes posted a gif in which the logo of Ye’s 2024 presidential bid, which he is managing, morphs into a sign that says “DEFCON 3,” a reference to Ye’s vow to go “death con 3 on Jewish people” that prompted his first Twitter ban last year. Fuentes then held a Twitter Spaces live chat that 14,000 people attended at least part of, during which he said he backed Ye’s comments and praised Hitler multiple times. He also reportedly said that regaining his audience on Twitter would allow him to “go to war” with the Jews.
Twitter’s new owner has claimed Kanye or Ye West’s account was suspended for “incitement to violence” related to a post he shared of a Swastika inside the Star of David. West’s earlier “DEFCON 3” tweet did result in that post being removed, and his account was locked for some amount of time before he returned to the platform in November. The point being, it’s not at all clear if Fuentes was reinstated by mistake, banned by mistake, or if the ban happened due to his tweets or if it was related to his activity in his Twitter Space. It could always be a combination of factors, and given the sort of screed Fuentes went on last night, that seems entirely plausible to me.
I woke up this morning to see that Fuentes had replied to me on Twitter. His account was suspended less than an hour later.
Fuentes has now taken to Telegram begging to have his Twitter account reinstated once again while simultaneously playing all of this off as some kind of a win.
He’s also calling for his supporters to spread a hashtag campaign #FREENICKFUENTES and for them to “ask nicely” for his account to be restored by Twitter’s current leadership. He specifically tells them to tag Ella Irwin, Esther Crawford and Elon Musk for a response.
It should be clear to most objective observers that Fuentes and his army of Groyper incels belong in the furthest recesses of the internet where they can do the least amount of damage. As to whether or not Fuentes genuinely wants his Twitter account reinstated, I turn to Michael Edison Hayden and Hannah Gais at Hatewatch for their analysis prior to Fuentes’s initial ban from the platform in July 2021. They write:
Fuentes’ name recognition skyrocketed as a result of his participation in Stop the Steal. He uses Twitter to support his broadcasting career by redirecting viewers to new live-streaming websites through the site after he encounters roadblocks in the form of deplatforming. (Here are two examples of him using Twitter to hype content hosted on comparatively obscure websites: Example 1, Example 2.) Twitter is the main reason he has been successful in retaining his audience, according to his own telling.
“We retained 80% of the viewership,” Fuentes said on a Jan. 20 broadcast. “I mean that’s a pretty big deal. It’s hard to overstate what a big deal that is … just by saying, ‘Hey check me out on Twitter.’”
Fuentes frequently expresses fear that Twitter one day will suspend him, but the corporation’s employees told Hatewatch they have no plans to do so. Hatewatch emailed Twitter about Fuentes on Jan. 5, the day before the insurrection, alerting them to a clip from Fuentes’ show, which he livestreamed during impeachment proceedings against Trump, where he raised the specter of killing Republican lawmakers. “What can you and I do to a state legislator besides kill them?” Fuentes said. “We should not do that. I’m not advising that, but I mean what else can you do, right? Nothing.”
While it’s unclear whether or not Fuentes’s remarks in Twitter Spaces were the cause of his subsequent ban, broadcasts from this service are available to anyone on the platform, and they can even be reached by those who don’t have a Twitter account if they’re given a link to a specific audio only program. There’s no content warning or age restrictions on who can listen in. Allowing Fuentes back on Twitter is the easiest possible way for him to grow his audience right now, and Twitter Spaces essentially moves his livestream show from obscure platforms few have heard of to one of the most visible spots on the internet.
It’s not hard to see why Fuentes should stay banned for good this time, but will he? Anything appears possible at Elon Musk’s Twitter 2.0, and there’s no guarantee that what’s decided today won’t be reversed with a single tweet in the future. After all, Fuentes was Donald Trump’s dinner guest at Mar-a-Lago only two months ago, and with Trump reportedly returning to Twitter soon in anticipation of his 2024 presidential run, perhaps he’ll be the one who convinces Musk to reverse this decision.
That’s assuming a reversal hasn’t happened already.
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