Freedom of speech surely exists, but on Twitter’s Support page, the company clearly states that it “prohibits the promotion of hate content, sensitive topics, and violence globally.” That’s why former president of an online troll group, Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, shouldn’t have been surprised when he found out his promoted tweets were banned, reports the Guardian.
Through the Gay Nigger Association of America (GNAA), Auernheimer promoted several tweets, such as, “Whites need to stand up for one another and defend ourselves from violence and discrimination. Our race is dying,” and, “White pride, world wide. Do you know the 14 words?” The “14 words” are in reference to this statement: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
When Auernheimer attempted to promote the first tweet, he found that Twitter rejected it, due to the company’s policy on hate speech.
If you don’t remember Auernheimer, he and fellow self-described security researcher Daniel Spitler discovered an exploit in AT&T’s website back in 2010 that would have allowed potential hackers to obtain the email addresses of iPad owners who used the carrier’s 3G network. Auernheimer was convicted on one count of conspiracy to gain access to a computer without authorization and one count of identity theft. He was sentenced to 41 months in jail, though he was granted early release back in April.
Many people took issue with Auernheimer’s sentencing, mainly due to the prosecution’s use of the outdated Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a piece of legislation that was written in 1986. In addition, Auernheimer and Spitler didn’t actually hack AT&T’s website, since the exploit made use of a unique ID number assigned to each iPad.
Regardless, Auernheimer has received plenty of heat, and still is, for his interactions that border on trolling. This was on full display when the pair discovered the exploit, and the both of them decided to have a bit of fun with it, which included not contacting AT&T directly about the exploit and marketing themselves as a security firm instead.