After pulling out that big, cushy seat for “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler in November, Twitter is finally implementing its “more aggressive stance” by suspending the accounts of white nationalists, the “alt-right,” and other vile hate groups.
“Today, we are starting to enforce these policies across Twitter,” Twitter Safety stated in a blog post on Monday. “In our efforts to be more aggressive here, we may make some mistakes and are working on a robust appeals process. We’ll evaluate and iterate on these changes in the coming days and weeks, and will keep you posted on progress along the way.”
Social media erupted in clamor last month after Kessler—despite referring to Heather Heyer as “a fat, disgusting Communist” and alluding to her death in Charlottesville as “payback time”—was given a blue check. That tacit endorsement came just weeks after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey promised to enforce strict guidelines regarding sensitive content, with the social media company later outlining plans to crack down on “unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies [sic] violence.” And while Twitter’s policy explicitly states that a blue check does not necessarily imply endorsement, things only began to look fishier as other digital companies took a decidedly forceful stance against white supremacy in recent months.
On November 9, after multiple complaints regarding the verification of far-right and white supremacist accounts, Dorsey announced the company was reconsidering its “broken” profile verification system.
“Verification was meant to authenticate identity and voice, but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance,” the company said in a statement. “We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it.”
As Mic.com notes, while suspending the accounts of Britain First’s Jayda Fransen and the Traditionalist Worker Party is certainly a start, it’s curious that some of America’s most notable white supremacist figures (like Richard Spencer) weren’t immediately banned.
Which raises another question:
Is Twitter really willing to do all it takes to enforce its new policies? Some are skeptical.