Social media giants late on Monday removed some white supremacists and other extremists from its platform as it enforces its new policies after it was accused of not doing enough to combat hate speech and harassment.
Some of the accounts that were pulled down from the platform include those linked to Britain First, the group that President Donald Trump retweeted to near universal condemnation. Some of the accounts were also tied to white supremacist organizations such as the League of the South and American Renaissance.
Critics of Twitter described this latest development as a wide-ranging “purge.” It hasn’t ended though as there are some prominent extremists who still operate live accounts, with Richard Spencer, the head of the white nationalist group the National Policy Institute the most popular one. Others include Jason Kessler, the chief organizer of last summer’s “Unite the Right” rally; and David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Twitter has come under heavy criticism for their decisions on which members and contents to ban, with the move on Monday likely to help their case. Spencer tweeted after the move that “As of now, I don’t see any systematic method to the #TwitterPurge,” stating that he has lost over 100 followers even though many “pro-White” accounts remained.
With several personal and racially tinged attacks over the last few years, it was concluded that the social media platform doesn’t act seriously on its policies and terms of service. Following their crackdown on white nationalist accounts, arguments erupted that the company unfairly targets conservative speech. Due to these moves by Twitter, some alternative social media services have emerged in the last year to accommodate people with extreme political views.
As the Republicans aim to push forward with their unpopular plan to roll back net neutrality protections this month, the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai used Twitter’s content moderation policies as evidence that social media companies now pose the greatest threat to free speech online.
Twitter while responding to that stated that they wouldn’t be taking any actions against government officials, erupting arguments that Trump is in persistent violation of its rules.