- Twitter has begun purging xenophobic, racist, and other accounts affiliated with hate groups and hate speech on- or offline.
- Two of the first victims of the purge are the leader of the far-right group Britain First, Paul Golding and deputy Jayda Fransen.
- The two were tweeting messages through verified accounts up until Monday morning, but their accounts are no longer accessible on Twitter.
- President Trump was widely criticised in November for retweeting anti-Muslim videos from Fransen, with at least one video turning out to be fake.
Twitter has begun purging accounts affiliated with hate groups on or off its platform, and has suspended the two leaders of Britain First: Paul Golding and his deputy Jayda Fransen.
Their suspensions were first spotted by BuzzFeed reporter Mark di Stefano.
Fransen’s most recent tweets through the @JaydaBF account are still visible through a Google search, and show that she was tweeting up until Monday mid-morning. Her account had, up until its suspension, been verified by Twitter.
This was her most recent post:
Paul Golding’s account, @GoldingBF, was also verified on Twitter up until his suspension. His final tweets were mostly retweets of other accounts. His last direct post was the same as Jayda Fransen’s.
Britain First is a far-right organisation that regularly pushes xenophobic, anti-Islam, and racist messages. According to Hope Not Hate, it has about 1,000 members and has occupied the gap left by older far-right groups the BNP and the EDL. The group is banned from Luton, parts of Kent, and all mosques in the UK. Fransen was released on bail in Northern Ireland last week after being charged for comments she made about Islam on social media. Golding was similarly arrested and bailed.
The group came under the spotlight in late November after US president Donald Trump retweeted hateful videos from Fransen, purporting to show extremist Islamist violence. But Dutch police pointed out that at least one video, supposedly showing a Muslim migrant beating up a Dutch national on crutches, was fake and that the event had taken place in Egypt, not the Netherlands.
UK prime minister Theresa May condemned Trump’s retweeting of a “hateful” far-right group in her most explicit criticism of Trump to date. Both Fransen and Golding changed their Twitter header images to pictures of Donald Trump. In Fransen’s case, the image showed a photoshopped Trump holding up her hand.
Twitter would not clarify why it had suspended Fransen or Golding over other hateful accounts such as neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, or former EDL leader Tommy Robinson. It also wouldn’t comment on whether Donald Trump, having retweeted hateful Britain First videos, may qualify him for suspension.
The firm’s new polices against hate speech, which come into force today, state:
“Accounts that affiliate with organisations that use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes. Groups included in this policy will be those that identify as such or engage in activity – both on and off the platform – that promotes violence. This policy does not apply to military or government entities and we will consider exceptions for groups that are currently engaging in (or have engaged in) peaceful resolution.”
This suggests Trump is unlikely to be suspended for his retweets.