Twitter Suspends Britain First Leaders Who President Trump Retweeted
Twitter has suspended the accounts of Paul Golding, leader of the far-right British political party Britain First, and his deputy Jayda Fransen. Both their accounts and past tweets are unavailable, along with their party’s official Twitter account—all of which featured posts demonizing immigrants and Muslims.
President Donald Trump caused an uproar last month when he retweeted several of Fransen’s posts that contained anti-Islam videos. Those retweets are no longer available.
U.K. political leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May swiftly condemned Trump for sharing the videos with his millions of followers. She called Britain First a “hateful organization” and that it was “very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.”
However, in a now deleted tweet, Fransen praised Trump:
“THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, DONALD TRUMP, HAS RETWEETED THREE OF DEPUTY LEADER JAYDA FRANSEN’S TWITTER VIDEOS! DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS RETWEETED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS! GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP! GOD BLESS AMERICA!”
The suspensions are part of Twitter attempt to better combat hate-speech and abuse on its platform. The social media service announced the policy change in November. Monday was the deadline to comply with the new policy.
Twitters new policy applies to accounts “that affiliate with organizations that use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes,” Twitter’s rules explain, or to content “that glorifies violence or the perpetrators of a violent act.”
According to tech news site Recode, “Twitter has said it would be monitoring groups’ behavior outside of the website, as it makes its decision as to which users have run afoul of its new guidelines.”
The rules also extend to so-called “related content,” or any “account that abuses or threatens others through their profile information, including their username, display name, or profile bio.” Hateful imagery, including swastikas, will be considered “sensitive media,” and not immediately displayed as part of the changes to “related content.”
“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,” Twitter’s rules state.
In addition to Golding and Fransen, the BBC reports that American Nazi Party, the Traditionalist Working Party and other neo-Nazi or alt-right accounts have been suspended for failing to comply with Twitter’s new policy. Recode and the BBC report that some of the banned accounts have moved to Gab.ai, another social media service.