In a move dubbed as “corporate Stalinism” by one of those impacted, overnight Twitter again suspended dozens of accounts associated with the alt-right movement, the same day the social media service said it would crack down on hate speech.
Among those suspended was Richard Spencer, who runs an alt-right think tank and had a verified account on Twitter.
According to USA Today, Twitter on Tuesday removed Spencer’s account, @RichardBSpencer, that of his think tank, the National Policy Institute @npiamerica, and his online magazine @radixjournal.
Twitter has suspended alt-right accounts in the past but never so many at once. In one of the highest-profile bans, Twitter removed the account of Milo Yiannopoulos, an outspoken editor at Breitbart in July.
As USA Today notes, “he had engaged in a campaign of abuse in which hundreds of anonymous Twitter accounts bombarded Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones with racist and sexist taunts. Before banning Yiannopoulos, Twitter stripped him of his verified status.”
Subsequently Twitter also banned University of Tennessee professor Glenn Reynolds aka “Instapundit”, however it reinstituted his account shortly after.
Speaking to the Daily Caller, Spencer said the move is “is corporate Stalinism.” In a YouTube video, entitled Knight of the Long Knives, an apparent reference to the purge of Nazi leaders in 1934 to consolidate Adolf Hitler’s power, Spencer said Twitter had engaged in a coordinated effort to wipe out alt-right Twitter.
“I am alive physically but digitally speaking there has been execution squads across the alt right,” he said. “There is a great purge going on and they are purging people based on their views.”
Spencer said he supported Yiannopoulos and didn’t think he should have been banned from Twitter. But, he said in his YouTube video, “Milo was engaging in something that could be called harassment.”
“The fact is that I, and a number of other people who have just got banned, weren’t even trolling,” he said. “I was using Twitter just like I always use Twitter, to give people some updates and maybe to comment on a news story here and there.”
— WeSearchr (@wesearchr) November 15, 2016
In response to a USA Today query, Twitter declined to comment on the suspensions, which included the accounts of Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn and John Rivers.
“We don’t comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons,” the company said in an emailed comment.
Twitter was the platform of choice for the campaign of President-elect Donald Trump and the alt-right political movement that embraced him. According to USA Today, “the alt-right used social media to spread its cause of white supremacy, operating largely unchecked by social media giants Twitter and Facebook.”
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