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New Twitter Rule Suspends Users Affiliated With Hate Groups

19 December 2017, 11:06 | Jermaine Blake

Twitter's hate speech rules are expanded

Twitter

Among those accounts suspended Monday are those of white nationalist Jared Taylor and his American Renaissance group, and British far-right activists Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding, along with the American Nazi Party.

The move comes after Donald Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos posted by Fransen.

The leaders of far-right group Britain First are among the first in the United Kingdom to have their Twitter accounts suspended in a new crackdown by the social network.

Twitter users may have to start thinking twice about what they post on social media.

Mr Dorsey said the site had "mistakenly pointed to the wrong reason" the videos remained online, with the company adding its current media policy had not been violated, but would "continue to re-evaluate and examine our policies as the world around us evolves".

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. Hateful imagery, including swastikas, will be considered "sensitive media", and not immediately displayed as part of the changes to "related content".

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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.

Founded in 2006, the San Francisco company had called itself "the free speech wing of the free speech party" and tried to stay out of battles among users. "We consider hateful imagery to be logos, symbols or images whose objective is to promote hostility and malice against others based on their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity/national origin".

The step is one of several that Twitter said it would take to crack down on white nationalists and other violent or hateful groups, which have become unwelcome on a service that once took an absolutist view of free speech.

According to tech news site Recode, "Twitter has said it would be monitoring groups' behavior outside of the website, as it makes its decision as to which users have run afoul of its new guidelines".

Among the accounts to be suspended is that of deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who gained notoriety when three anti-Muslim videos she posted were retweeted by US President Donald Trump.

So long as governmental forces are "currently engaging in (or have in engaged in)" peace-making efforts, Twitter said, violent tweets, messaging and other incidents will not be held to the same standard as individuals espousing similarly violent rhetoric.



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