Twitter Suspending Alt-Right Users!
By: Andrea Eldridge, CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, an on-site computer and laptop repair service company.
Interviewer: Twitter suspends dozens of accounts. What those users have in common that has some people concerned. Well Twitter has suspended the accounts of several members of what’s called the Alt-Right Movement including the leader of a white nationalist Think Tank. The suspensions come the same week Twitter announced new ways for users to complain about hateful content. Joining me now is KTVU tech expert Ryan Eldridge from Nerds On-Call. Hey Ryan.
This a long time coming for people that are really upset with the hate on Twitter.
Ryan: Yeah, and Twitter has been fighting this forever. Yesterday they came out with some new rules saying that you can mute certain speech, or certain keywords, you could even take yourself out of certain conversations. The problem with that rule setting is that it’s kind a band aid for a bullet wound. Emmy Rossum just recently overnight was talking about how she was getting hate speech, and some of the tweets that she was getting were things like “Get ready for the trains,” or, “They’re warming the ovens.” She’s a Jewish actress known for speechless on Shameless on Showtime. And you can’t keyword that out of your stream. Otherwise, are you gonna put in there “I don’t want to see trains, I don’t want to see ovens?” It doesn’t make any sense. Today, what Twitter is doing is actively going out and banning accounts that are promoting hate speech or ultimately targeting people based on their orientation, their sexuality, or their religions.
Interviewer: The bullying on Twitter has gotten so bad that some people have shied away from it. A lot of celebrities have written off Twitter, sometimes they come back. But because it is so viscous, is this near estimation going to help?
Ryan: Well, here’s the thing about the internet is anonymity breeds just the worst in some people. Not everyone, there’s a lot of great things that can happen. When you’re anonymous you’re able to speak your mind, and maybe say things that you wouldn’t normally. When it comes to hate speech, and when you’re trying to harass people and hurt them based on their color of their skin, or their religion, or anything else, it’s ridiculous.
And then unfortunately, with Twitter trying to battle this, I don’t see that they’re gonna do it with this whole affect that they’ve done. They can’t ban every account. The Alt-Right movement, the ones that got banned today, unfortunately all they did is just set up new accounts or they went to a new service in order to continue their supposed work in this organization. It’s obviously not gonna be a permanent fix. There’s no real way to fix it. When you were saying that people are shying away from the network, that’s including investors.
Twitter’s been trying to get itself sold for the last few months, and certain investors like Disney have turned away from it simply because of the trolling problem knowing that it’s just an uncontrollable beast. And it was just recently, the article that was put out last night that was talking about without Facebook or Twitter, Donald Trump likely would not have been elected to his office. And I think that’s absolutely true. If you take a look at his spend on digital market versus the spend of Hillary Clinton, which was more traditional, on television and radio, we can see that the internet and social media 100% was the reason why Donald Trump got elected. And it’s also one of the ways that, unfortunately, things like this like the Alt-Right movement can gain ground. Steve Bannon was just recently put in as the strategist there at the White House, the Chief Strategist of the White House, and he has ties to the Alt-Right movement, which may be or may not be related to Twitter’s recent bans today.
Interviewer: Alright, Ryan Eldridge as always. Thanks for your insight, appreciate it.
Ryan: You’re welcome.
Twitter has suspended the accounts of several members of the American alt-right movement.
They have suspended accounts linked to at least 7 prominent alt-right leaders and/or organizations.
What is the alt-right?
The term alt-right is pretty general, to be more specific the major groups being categorized this way are:
· Groups and individuals that support “white nationalism”
· Those who are generally outspoken in their attacks on multiculturalism, globalization and immigration.
· Those who often target political correctness & feminism.
Twitter is citing their hateful conduct policy for the reason for the suspension. The policy prohibits “conduct that targets people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease.”
So far the suspended accounts include the leader of a white nationalist think tank – Richard Spencer, president of “National Policy Institute” The NPI describes itself as dedicated to the “identity and future of people of European descent in the United States.” NPI’s account & its Radix journal publication’s account have been suspended also.
The alt-right have been in the news lately because of Trump appointing Steve Bannon as chief strategist. Bannon was formerly executive chairman of Breitbart News. Breitbart News specializes in coverage of alt-right (but does not identify itself as part of it).
Some alt-right figures have suggested a switch to Gab, an alternative micro-blogging service that promises “free speech for everyone.” However, this doesn’t offer mainstream engagement.
Twitter has a troll problem
Twitter has just released new ways for users to fight back against abusive messages and hateful content:
“Mute” button use expanded – let’s user block tweets from individual user. Users can now prevent tweets containing chosen key words or phrases from appearing in the notifications bar, the can opt out of seeing conversations they are added to. Twitter have also said that there will be more categories for reporting offensive material.
These measures may help, but won’t solve the problem of online bullies and trolls. The reality of the situation is that anonymity makes some people jerks. Also it’s easy to remove one account, but bad apples just make another. The root of the issue needs to be tackled, perhaps a new leader will emerge to tackle this.