Unlike those in D.C., San Francisco police seem to have been prepared — maybe overprepared — for a Trump-motivated attack on Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco today.
Twitter, after incubating far-right misinformation and giving Trump unfettered access to his base for over four years, permanently suspended No. 45 from the platform on Friday. The suspension came after a conservative mob, incited by Donald Trump, attacked the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, during the certification of Joe Biden’s Presidential election win.
Posts from the far-right, misinformation-infested internet forum TheDonald.win had told supporters to gather outside Twitter headquarters this morning at 8 a.m. Yet by 9 a.m., nobody but a handful of reporters, police, and one counter-protester could be found at the intersection of 10th St. and Market St. “Impeach! Remove! Today!” the protestor’s sign read.
In preparation, Metal Public Works barricades had been placed around the entire block where Twitter’s HQ is located, between 9th and 10th streets and between Market and Mission. Approximately 30 police officers were deployed to the area. Due to the lack of action, they merely huddled casually in conversation throughout the morning. Crucially, Lyft’s rentable bikes were protected by the sufficiently spaced barricades.
More eventful than the protest itself might be the snarky response of San Franciscans. Many were quick to point out that due to coronavirus safety precautions, Twitter employees have been working from home since March — in other words, Trump supporters would have been yelling at an empty building. Another joked that SOMA’s costly parking would be a strong-enough deterrent. A third teased an ABC7 reporter for a short video report: “‘This is Dan Noyes, reporting live from no scene…’” the tweet said.
It remains a mystery how insurgents dense enough to wear a work badge to a riot or give their full name to reporters could make a playground of the US Senate chambers, while events like today’s fail. The de-facto shutdown of Parler, however, may have something to do with it. After reporters zero’d in on how the ‘free speech’-focused social media platform was used to organize attacks on the Capitol, Amazon Web Services suspended its services to the platform. Temporarily without a centralized meeting place online, Trump’s most loyal internet trolls are left with a fractured array of internet forums like TheDonald.win.
To celebrate Twitter’s indefinite suspension of Donald Trump’s account, a group of left-wing protestors plan to project “#TrumpBanned at last,” on the Twitter HQ at 5:30 p.m. this evening. “We must put an equal or greater amount of pressure on Twitter to fight disinformation and defend our democracy,” says organizer Alan Marling. In true Bay Area fashion, left wing counter-protestors are set to steal the show.
For now, it appears San Francisco’s “silent majority” will be keeping their mouths shut.