Following new rules to combat racist trolls and online abuse, Twitter has now suspended a number of alt-right accounts in a bid to clean up its platform.
Based on several reports, many accounts of right-wing users, including some users tied to white-power groups, are now blocked on Twitter as part of the microblogging site's efforts to eliminate hate speech and online harassment from its platform.
Twitter Crackdown On Alt-Right
The move seems to have had a particularly heavy impact on alt-right, a growing movement comprised largely by anti-Semites and white nationalists, Fortune reports.
Among the recently suspended is the verified account of Richard Spencer, a major alt-right leader and president of an alt-right think tank called The National Policy Institute, which promotes racial separation. The National Policy Institute also saw its Twitter account suspended, as did the Radix Journal, also run by Spencer.
Other movement members affected by Twitter's crackdown include John Rivers, Paul Town, Ricky Vaughn and Pax Dickinson. The latter was an executive at Business Insider but saw his demise after making racist comments.
Corporate Stalinism And Execution Squads Across The Alt-Right
In response to Twitter's move, Spencer made a video and posted it on YouTube, saying that the alt-right has been killed digitally.
"I am alive physically, but digitally speaking, there has been execution squads across the alt-right," argues Spencer.
"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 adds, referring to Twitter's enforcement of rules by suspending alt-right accounts.
Twitter Efforts To Combat Hate Speech And Online Abuse
Twitter has reiterated time and time again that it will not tolerate hate speech or any other type of abuse on its platform and clearly states that failure to comply with the Twitter Rules "may result in the temporary locking and/or permanent suspension of account(s)."
The company has been taking several steps toward combatting online abuse in recent times, including the rollout of a Twitter quality filter so that users can block hateful, abusive or otherwise undesired content on the platform. The Twitter mute button serves the same purpose, and the company never shied away from suspending thousands of accounts at a time if necessary, all in a bid to fight online abuse.
However, some might fear an overkill on Twitter's part, worrying that the company might become excessively zealous and trump free speech somewhere along the line.
"[I]t threatens to draw Twitter further into a quagmire over what is acceptable speech," Fortune points out.
Determining what is acceptable speech or not can't be an easy task for Twitter, especially with a slew of Tweets pouring through its gates every minute, but the company is nonetheless determined to curb abuse, racism and hate speech.