By Emily Drooby
Back on July 9, Twitter deactivated Conservative Party of New York State’s account. It remained deactivated until September 10.
While it is back up and running, their Chairman, Gerard Kassar says they still don’t have a reason for the shutdown.
“This is a major communications aspect of how we tell people what we are thinking about,” he said, adding, “we feel certain that we lost exposure because for us the Twitter account becomes the basis of people retweeing.”
Gerard is a parishioner of St. Ephrem in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.
This is the third time their Twitter has been shut down this year. It happened for a few days in February, and for over a week in April.
This time, the account was down for over two months, leaving them unable to tweet during a critical time in the election season and through both party conventions.
“We are an official political party of the State of New York, with a ballot line, where all sorts of candidates are appearing on it this year, so it kind of ties in with hundreds of political races,” Gerard explained. “So I think to that degree, Twitter had no sense of what they had done.”
They reached out to Twitter multiple times and didn’t hear back. Then New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and State Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay got involved.
He wrote to Twitter, “…we demand answers on why one of the world’s largest social media platforms decided to silence New York conservatives?”
They further called it a violation of free speech, demanding the page be reactivated. The letter worked.
“All of a sudden we received from Twitter, a note indicating, ‘We apologize, your account has been reinstated.’ Still no explanation,” said Gerard.
Still, there’s the big question that’s been left unanswered: Why?
Twitter told the group they were flagged as spam by mistake. Separately, a spokesperson told Currents News, “We took enforcement action on the account referenced in error.”
The Conservative Party of NYS has over 150,000 registered members.
Gerard explained, “I am concerned that we didn’t get a reason and I would say to you that’s something this company has to look at.”
He says he was confused as to what they even might have violated. Adding he believes nothing on their Twitter is controversial.
The account posts “very straight forward public statements that were occurring from major political leaders or institutions in this country,” Gerard said.
Gerard is hopeful that with political leaders’ involvement they’ll be spared from another shut down, but says he doesn’t think this is the end of the story.