Twitter enforces new hate speech rules, suspends two ‘alt-right’ British leaders’ accounts

Twitter enforces new hate speech rules, suspends two ‘alt-right’ British leaders’ accounts
Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were suspended from Twitter after the social media company started enforcing its new rules on hate speech. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Twitter suspended the accounts of two British “alt-right” party leaders Monday after the social media company started implementing its new rules on hate speech.

The social media giant shut down the official Twitter account of Britain First leader Paul Golding and his deputy, Jayda Fransen, along with other far-right individuals, according to The Telegraph.

Who are Golding and Fransen?

Golding, 35, and Fransen, 31, recently gained increased notoriety when President Donald Trump retweeted three unverified anti-Muslim videos from Fransen’s Twitter account, according to the Independent. The videos were titled, “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”

British Prime Minister Theresa May lashed out at Trump, saying, “Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions,” the Independent reported. “They cause anxiety to law-abiding people. British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right which is the antithesis of the values this country represents, decency, tolerance and respect.”

Trump responded to May on Twitter.

“Theresa, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!” he tweeted.

Police in Northern Ireland arrested Golding and Fransen separately last week and charged them “with using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behavior” for speeches they made at a Northern Ireland Against Terrorism rally in Belfast in August, The Guardian reported.

Both have separate court appearances set for January.

Why is Twitter suspending the accounts?

The company has come under scrutiny for not doing enough to stop hate speech and abuse on its platform.

Twitter developed new regulations recently and started enforcing those rules Monday.

Twitter has two new rules regarding violence and physical harm, according to Monday’s Twitter blog post.

Accounts that affiliate with organizations that use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes. Groups included in this policy will be those that identify as such or engage in activity — both on and off the platform — that promotes violence. This policy does not apply to military or government entities and we will consider exceptions for groups that are currently engaging in (or have engaged in) peaceful resolution.

Content that glorifies violence or the perpetrators of a violent act. This includes celebrating any violent act in a manner that may inspire others to replicate it or any violence where people were targeted because of their membership in a protected group. We will require offending Tweets to be removed and repeated violations will result in permanent suspension.

Twitter also wrote that it has expanded its rules to include related content.

Any account that abuses or threatens others through their profile information, including their username, display name, or profile bio. If an account’s profile information includes a violent threat or multiple slurs, epithets, racist or sexist tropes, incites fear, or reduces someone to less than human, it will be permanently suspended. We plan to develop internal tools to help us identify violating accounts to supplement user reports.

Hateful imagery will now be considered sensitive media under our media policy. We consider hateful imagery to be logos, symbols, or images whose purpose is to promote hostility and malice against others based on their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin. If this type of content appears in header or profile images, we will now accept profile-level reports and require account owners to remove any violating media.