New Twitter Rule Suspends Users Affiliated With Hate Groups

19 December, 2017, 11:10 | Author: Miranda Cannon
  • Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen is congratulated by a supporter wearing a Donald Trump mask as she exits Belfast Laganside Courts. Charles McQuillan  Getty Images

United Kingdom authorities arrested Golding and Fransen earlier this week over incendiary comments about Islam that they made over the summer in Northern Ireland, the BBC reports.

It coincides with the platform enforcing new rules and guidelines created to make Twitter a "safer environment".

In November, Oakland's Muslim Advocates asked Twitter to pull down the accounts of Jayda Fransen and Britain First - a far-right and ultranationalist political group that Fransen leads - for violating rules about inciting violence against a particular group.

Twitter announced the changes to its guidelines last month, warning people they would come into effect on December 18.

On Monday, the tech firm will start enforcing new rules aimed at combating hateful and abusive content.

"Any tool that enables censorship online can be used against potentially everyone - regardless of ideology", Emma Llansó, the director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said after several far-right groups were removed from social media sites this summer.

The new rules expand policies to abusive or threatening content in usernames and profiles, and to accounts affiliated with hate groups both on and off platform.

Twitter has 330 million monthly active users.

As a private company, Twitter has the legal right to block any speech it wants, since the First Amendment only applies to government control of speech.

Twitter did not provide a list of other accounts that have been immediately affected, and the company did not respond to Ars' request for comment pre-publication.

Hate imagery will now fall under the rubric of Twitter's "sensitive media policy", and that will include any "logos, symbols, or images whose goal is to promote hostility and malice against others based on their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin".

Britain First's leader Paul Golding and his deputy Jayda Fransen can no longer tweet and their past posts no longer appear, the BBC reported on Monday. In our efforts to be more aggressive here, we may make some mistakes and are working on a robust appeals process. "We'll evaluate and iterate on these changes in the coming days and weeks, and will keep you posted on progress along the way", Twitter said in a statement Monday.

A number of prominent far-right accounts, including the white nationalist American Renaissance and its founder Jared Taylor, the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Workers Party and white nationalist group Vanguard America were suspended on Monday.


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