Twitter is cracking down at last on Nazis and other vile groups using the platform to spread hate.
The company has started enforcing new rules announced last month that ban users who advocate violence or are affiliated with extremist groups. The social-media giant is also requiring users to click through warnings before viewing hate imagery, such as swastikas.
“Our hateful-conduct policy and rules against abusive behavior prohibit promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening other people . . . as well as engaging in abusive behavior that harasses, intimidates or uses fear to silence another person’s voice,” Twitter said in a blog post outlining the changes.
The site on Monday banned the account of a far-right group, Britain First, as well as that of its leader Jayda Fransen.
President Trump last month retweeted several anti-Muslim posts Fransen made, earning a reprimand from British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said the group pushes “hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions.”
Trump’s retweets were gone as of Monday.
Twitter will now suspend the accounts of people who associate with violent groups, make threats or advocate violence, although there is an exception for some military and governmental accounts.
Using “multiple slurs, epithets, racist or sexist tropes” in one’s Twitter bio will also result in a ban, according to the company.
The company did not respond to questions on why a single slur was still deemed acceptable.
But while users may not include symbols of hate in profile or header images, they may still share them. Other users will have to click a waiver before viewing.
Other accounts purged included those of the American Nazi Party, anti-Muslim group English Defense League, white-power group Vanguard America and the violent far-right Canadian chapter of the Jewish Defense League.
Former KKK “grand wizard” David Duke and white supremacist Richard Spencer had avoided the purge as of late Monday.
Twitter’s decision to crack down comes after years of criticism that hit a fever pitch in the US following the August riot in Charlottesville, Va., where white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly killed a counter-protester with his car.
The company has seen itself as a bastion for free speech, and UK general manager Tony Wang once characterized the site as “the free speech wing of the free speech party.”
But that stance has bumped up against international law — as when a French court ordered the company in 2013 to turn over the identities of people who made anti-Semitic posts because such speech violates French law.