It’s rare that a social network censors user content, but that’s exactly what Twitter did today. The social network suspended some far-right activist’s accounts. The social network told press that it is attempting to crack down on hate speech.
Amongst the accounts suspended were those manned by white activist groups and publications. The accounts had been controversial over the past few weeks, and Twitter claims that the people behind the accounts were spewing hate Tweets.
During the weeks leading up to the recent American presidential nomination, some far-right Twitter users were using the network to drum up support for president elect Donald Trump.
Twitter has been used in the past by extremist groups. Even though Twitter has created new tools that allow users to control newsfeed postings, the platform has just recently cracked down on extremist accounts - even verified user accounts. Those that have been banned from Twitter are protesting the new block.
A New Site Emerges
In the wake of Twitter crackdowns, a new social network that has high hopes of capturing all those Twitter users that have left Twitter due to the allowance of extremist users. That platform is called Gab. Gab claims that it is a free speech website. This is in direct contrast to what Twitter has done with recent censorship.
It’s tough to establish a new social networking site this late in the game, but Gab might have some kind of chance. Twitter has been slowing winding down, and now more and more people are leaving the social network due to recent activities. Gab currently has around 12,000 users, which is small when it comes to social networking sites.
Other Far Right Networks
Even though Twitter is the most mainstream social network that has (in the past) allowed far-right activists to operate, the site is not the only one out there. Another platform called Stormfront has recently generated a lot of users of the far-right kind. Stormfront is where those people that have been kicked off of Twitter gather and socialize.
As a company, Twitter reserves the right to ban users from the site. However, Twitter also walks a fine line as many people see such censorship as a move against the freedom of speech. Twitter’s recent move to ban many accounts might backfire against the company causing many users to leave and never return.
While Twitter’s attempt to stop extremism is somewhat admirable in this writer’s opinion, it’s not necessarily going to work. With companies like Gab and Stormfront popping up where Twitter left off, the company might not accomplish anything other than losing users with its stance against violence and extreme Tweets.
It’s hard to discern whether or not Twitter has done the right thing in banning certain users from the site. On the one hand, the company does not want to be responsible for hatred or terrorism. On the other hand, this can be seen as a blockage of freedom of speech. What do you think?