Twitter just suspended a number of accounts associated with the alt-right

how to change your twitter name phone photo
vdovichenko/123RF
Twitter has suspended a number of accounts associated with the alt-right movement, including those belonging to verified users such as Richard B. Spencer.

The term “Alt-right” is used to define a loose set of groups and individuals who, in some cases, are openly racist and nativist, and who in other cases are willing to invite the charge of racism and nativism in connection with a provocative campaign of online trolling. Spencer, for example, has openly called for the removal of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Jews from the United States. However, there is a segment of the movement (which includes infamous internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos) that describes themselves as online pranksters “eager to commit secular heresies” and “challenge social norms.”

On Tuesday, Spencer — a verified Twitter user with a significant following — was banned from the platform. A number of accounts associated with Spencer, including that of his think tank, the National Policy Institute @npiamerica, and his online magazine @radixjournal have also been removed, notes USA Today. Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn, and John Rivers have also reportedly been suspended.

“The Twitter Rules prohibit targeted abuse and harassment, and we will suspend accounts that violate this policy,” said the company in a statement.

Spencer addressed his removal from Twitter in a YouTube video: “I am alive, physically, but digitally speaking, there has been execution squads across the alt-right.” He continued: “It’s corporate Stalinism, in the sense that there is a great purge going on, and they’re purging people on the basis of their views.”

He also released a joint statement along with Jared Taylor, editor of the alt-right magazine American Renaissance, urging media outlets to condemn Twitter’s censorship of the accounts in question. “Several of the banned accounts were in no way guilty of trolling or “harassment,” so we can conclude only that the bans were politically motivated,” reads the statement.

Twitter’s crackdown comes in the wake of its announcement that it is actively battling harassment on its site. Beyond its provision of new tools to its users (allowing them to block and report abusive tweets) the company is also educating its staff through “special sessions on cultural and historical contextualization of hateful conduct.”

Twitter said the following in a post announcing the changes: “Because Twitter happens in public and in real-time, we’ve had some challenges keeping up with and curbing abusive conduct … We took a step back to reset and take a new approach, find and focus on the most critical needs and rapidly improve.”

The latest round of suspensions recalls Twitter’s removal of selected accounts in July, after the harassment directed toward Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. One of the users targeted at the time was Yiannopoulos, who was subsequently banned from the platform.

In September, George Washington University released a study claiming white nationalists and self-proclaimed Nazi sympathizers had amassed large followings on Twitter. Among the biggest talking points for these groups was the concept of “white genocide” and the view that “white race” is endangered by the increasing diversity of society.

However, the study noted that Twitter would have a hard time applying its policy regulations regarding hateful conduct to these accounts due to their fragmented nature. It also noted that they present free speech complications, an argument currently being echoed by a number of Twitter users.

Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.
Computing

Oculus shows off the Rift S, plans to phase out its original VR headset

Oculus plans to phase out its flagship Rift VR headset for its newly created Rift S. The Rift S made its debut this week at the 2019 Game Developers Conference and is expected to be released in spring 2019.
Mobile

Google hit with another fine by the EU, this time for $1.7 billion

Google has been fined for the third time by the EU, this time for breaching antitrust laws by requiring third-party websites using its search function to prioritize its ads over competitors.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Photography

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.