After criticism over its inaction on abusive and racist profiles, Twitter is finally taking steps to suspend accounts associated with the “alt-right” movement.
According to USA Today, one of the accounts suspended belonged to Richard Spencer (@RichardBSpencer ), along with the official accounts for his alt-right think-tank The National Policy Institute (@npiamerica) and his online magazine Radix Journal (@radixjournal). Spencer has said he wants blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and Jews removed from the U.S.
In a video posted to YouTube, Spencer slammed the action as “corporate Stalinism.”
“I am alive physically but digitally speaking there has been execution squads across the alt right,” he said. “There is a great purge going on and they are purging people based on their views.”
From USA Today:
Twitter declined to comment on the suspensions, which included the accounts of Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn and John Rivers.
“We don’t comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons,” the company said in an emailed comment.
Twitter was the platform of choice for the campaign of President-elect Donald Trumpand the alt-right political movement that embraced him. The alt-right used social media to spread its cause of white supremacy, operating largely unchecked by social media giants Twitter and Facebook.
Unsurprisingly, the move has many alt-right sympathizers crying foul.
— CC (@ChristiChat) November 16, 2016
Twitter intended to purge alt-right accounts as part of a Hillary victory celebration. Now, it's revenge.
— Ethan Ralph (@TheRalphRetort) November 15, 2016
Twitter is out for vengeance. Guilt-rage banning a bunch of high profile alt-right accounts. Pax, Ricky Vaughn, John Rivers etc.
— ≠ Nathan Duffy ≠ (@TheIllegit) November 15, 2016
“We are encouraged by the decisions taken by Twitter. Now it is a matter of whether they are carried out,” Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center said to USA Today. “Obviously, well-known white supremacists violate these terms of service and we are glad it appears that Twitter has chosen to step up on these issues.”
In one of the highest-profile bans, Twitter removed the account of Milo Yiannopoulos, a technology editor at the conservative news site Breitbart in July. He had engaged in a campaign of abuse in which hundreds of anonymous Twitter accounts bombarded Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones with racist and sexist taunts. Before banning Yiannopoulos, Twitter stripped him of his verified status.
In his video, Spencer clarified that he supported Yiannopoulos, but that the two weren’t engaged in the same kind of activities.
“The fact is that I, and a number of other people who have just got banned, weren’t even trolling,” Spencer said. “I was using Twitter just like I always use Twitter, to give people some updates and maybe to comment on a news story here and there.”
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