On Friday night, two days after his supporters stormed the Capitol building, leading to five deaths, outgoing president Donald Trump was permanently banned from Twitter. The reason, the company said, was “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” — a reaction to him spreading baseless conspiracy theories about voter fraud that have whipped his base into a violent frenzy. The reaction among his base was predictable: They weren’t happy. Soon the hashtag #1984IsHere began trending, referring to George Orwell’s classic novel about an authoritarian dystopia. The reaction to that, however, was that many of the people tweeting that probably haven’t actually read the book.
One frequently made point was that Twitter is not the government. They are a company. And if the government itself has not taken away Trump’s freedom of speech, there is no first amendment violation. Therefore invoking a book — one written by a virulent anti-fascist — was a moot point. Some posted useful explainers to help his fans realize the difference between the government and a social media company.
— Dannie (@danielle_esp17) January 9, 2021
Others pointed out that Trump still has a voice.
To the folks who believe that #1984IsHere:
1) Read the book.
2) Twitter is not the government.
3) Donald Trump can issue statements on his website, by press conference, or however his 44 predecessors addressed the American people before Twitter existed.
— Matt (@nosoupforgeorge) January 9, 2021
Many questioned that Trump supporters have actually read George Orwell’s 1984.
The fact that #1984IsHere is trending really shows that no one in America has read the fucking book.
— mariealayna✨ (@mariealaynaa) January 9, 2021
No one using the #1984IsHere hashtag has ever read 1984 the book.
— 𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙤𝙪𝙛𝙚𝙭𝙞𝙨 (@EliasToufexis) January 9, 2021
The 1st Amendment, 1984, and The Bible gotta be top 3 most cited material by people who didn’t read them
— Adam Stites (@AdamStites_) January 9, 2021
Or maybe they have.
The important context here is that people have only read one book, and it’s either Harry Potter or 1984
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) January 9, 2021
Others were annoyed about the overuse of “Orwellian,” when Orwell wrote many other books not about a grim dystopian hellscape. (Keep the Aspidistra Flying, about a frustrated wannabe novelist, is pretty good, too.)
— PA Progressive 🇺🇸 (@SocialDemPA) January 9, 2021
Some anti-Trumpers quoted Orwell back, with lines that they probably wouldn’t enjoy.
"..a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans.."- George Orwell ‘1984’ #1984IsHere
— michael sheen 💙 (@michaelsheen) January 9, 2021
There was some general mocking, too.
— Matt (@mattwleft) January 9, 2021
— rcparanormal (@hauntedwrld) January 9, 2021
Others pointed out that it’s that Trump — and some of his minions — is being “censored.” What they experiencing is what happens after wrongdoing.
— Will Chilton (@WillChilton1992) January 9, 2021
Others simply reminded people about the actual 1984.
— CanadianMapleSyrup (@CanadianMapleS2) January 9, 2021
This is just like 1984, in the sense that I’m very excited for a film version of Dune to come out
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) January 9, 2021