Twitter Suspends Prominent Alt-right Leaders From Social Network

White supremacists decry suspensions as 'purge,' but rights group says Twitter has not done enough.

Oded Yaron
Oded Yaron
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A man hides his face behind a Pepe the Frog sign - an icon of the alt-right - after Republican a Donald Trump rally in New Mexico, U.S. October 30, 2016.
A man hides his face behind a Pepe the Frog sign - an icon of the alt-right - after Republican a Donald Trump rally in New Mexico, U.S. October 30, 2016. Credit: Carlo Allegri, Reuters
Oded Yaron
Oded Yaron

Twitter has suspended a number of accounts linked to the leaders of the so-called alt-right movement – a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists who were pushed to center stage with their support of President-elect Donald Trump.

Among the accounts suspended from the social media site were Richard Spencer, who heads the National Policy Institute, a think tank dedicated to what it describes as the "identity and future of people of European descent in the United States".

The Southern Poverty Law center, which sent Twitter a list of over 100 offensive accounts, describes Spencer as "one of the country’s most successful young white nationalist leaders." According to its website, Spencer advocates “peaceful ethnic cleansing.”

Now banned from Twitter, Spencer took to YouTube to vent his anger at what he called "corporate Stalinism."

"I and a number of other people who just got banned were not even trolling," he said in the video. "There is a great purge going on, and they are purging people on the basis of their views," Spencer said.

Other accounts reportedly suspended were those of Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn and John Rivers.

"Good riddance," the SPLC tweeted after the news, but its spokeswoman told USA Today, who first broke the news of the suspensions, that Twitter has not done enough to address the issue.

Twitter's move comes after Facebook and Google faced criticism for the spread of false or biased news through the social media and search engine giants' platforms during the election cycle, much of which was affiliated with the alt-right movement.

Though it didn’t respond to the report, Twitter said in a statement that: "The Twitter Rules prohibit targeted abuse and harassment, and we will suspend accounts that violate this policy."

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