[11/16/16] Twitter suspended high-profile 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.
The alt-right, a loosely organized group that espouses white nationalism, emerged as a counterpoint to mainstream conservatism and has flourished online. Spencer has said he wants blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Jews removed from the U.S.
Twitter on Tuesday removed Spencer’s verified account, @RichardBSpencer, that of his think tank, the National Policy Institute @npiamerica, and his online magazine @radixjournal.
“This is corporate Stalinism,” Spencer told The Daily Caller News Foundation. 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.”
In a statement, Twitter said: “The Twitter Rules prohibit targeted abuse and harassment, and we will suspend accounts that violate this policy.”
It declined to comment specifically on the suspensions, which included the accounts of Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn and John Rivers.
Twitter was the platform of choice for the campaign of President-elect Donald Trumpand the alt-right political movement that embraced him. The alt-right used social media to spread its cause of white supremacy, operating largely unchecked by social media giants Twitter and Facebook.
For years, Twitter billed itself as “the free speech wing of the free speech party.” But as the social media service grew, that hands-off approach contributed to a dramatic rise in abuse, harassment and hate speech. As the company’s user and revenue growth stagnated and public backlash increased, Twitter has in recent months begun to address complaints. After a bitterly divisive election, personal attacks and threats have only escalated.