Twitter is taking a victory lap on Monday, after the company announced an updated, robust set of rules to “reduce hateful conduct and abusive behavior.”
The company then ousted several alt-right hate groups and personalities from its platform, including Jayda Fransen of “Britain First,” whose Anti-Muslim videos were infamously retweeted by President Trump last month.
Shares of Twitter stock surged 10 percent in the aftermath, celebrities like Piers Morgan defended the policy, and groups like the Muslim Association hailed the decision. “For months, we have issued calls for Twitter and Facebook to combat the use of their platforms to promote hate and bigotry,” said the Muslim Association in a statement. “We applaud Twitter for updating its policies and taking steps today to remove violent and hateful accounts from its platform.”
Today, we are starting to enforce updates to the Twitter Rules and media policy to reduce hateful conduct and abusive behavior https://t.co/yNHAMFcVwG
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) December 18, 2017
But does that apply to prominent Muslim-Americans who have made widely-criticized remarks in the past?
Louis Farrakhan notoriously called Judaism a “gutter religion,” and has said: “When it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever.” His account not only remains active, but also verified on Twitter. Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour — who is now under fire for “enabling” sexual assault in the workplace , according to reports — has used the platform to say Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are “asking 4 an a$$ whippin’,” before adding she wishes she could “take their vaginas away — they don’t deserve to be women.” Sarsour’s account remains live as well.
The Muslim Association did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on if it would support the suspension of their accounts as well.
Twitter declined to tell TheWrap other accounts that will be suspended; a company spokesperson said Twitter cannot comment on “hypotheticals or specific accounts” when asked if users like Farrakhan would be next to fall.
To some right-wing commentators, Twitter’s selection process is arbitrarily drawn along party lines. This explains why Twitter is quick to shut down alt-right nut bags like Fransen and strip Richard Spencer of his blue check mark, according to detractors, but holds back on bigotry from those associated with left-wing politics.
“It all makes sense once you understand the victim olympics,” Mike Cernovich told TheWrap. “Jews are seen as more oppressed than whites, but less oppressed than Palestinians. Thus anti-Semitism from left-wing groups is allowed, where as right-wing speech is carefully scrutinized or called dog whistles.”
Just as Twitter’s updated policy is being lauded by many, it’s also drawing the ire of right-wingers on the platform. The company is being branded a safe haven for “leftist lies,” pushed by “liberal fascists.”
Twitter will lose 68 million deplorables if they take the freedom to post they better wake up they will have only leftist lies on this platform and know one cares to be here if its so full of bogus fake news!
— Covfefe007 (@Nancy007F) December 18, 2017
If twitter censors me, a patriot & great granddaughter of Francis Scott Key, for exercising my right to free speech then so be it. I’ll not modify what I say to please liberal fascists. Give me freedom or give me death. #QAnon #POTUS45 I’m with you. #TheStormIsHere
— Luz Bubut Key (@lightbkey) December 18, 2017
One user pointed to the “ranting” of liberal “lunatic” Bette Midler as an example of Twitter’s “bias” in which accounts it does and doesn’t ban.
This is how bias Twitter is. I tell Keith Olbermann to 'seek help' and I'm forced to delete that tweet and I get banned for 12 days. But a #Liberal lunatic ranting while off meds- can ramble anything they want- cuz Twitter loves the mentally ill. #LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder https://t.co/KeUsLSYyes
— ✨SafeWord: Apples ✨ (@SafeWordApples) December 18, 2017
Others have pointed out Twitter’s inconsistent enforcement. Pacific Standard columnist David M. Perry noted an account that posts “pro-Nazi memes” that Twitter has declined to ban.
3) This account, on the other hand, literally calls itself kike killer, posting Trump memes, racist memes, pro-Nazi memes, and related content. Twitter has repeatedly declined to ban it. pic.twitter.com/1Vy4YHoztq
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) December 18, 2017
And Stephen Miller from Fox News retweeted a section of Twitter’s updated policy and asked “so Linda Sarsour is gone then?”
So Linda Sarsour is gone then? https://t.co/uoSFwIo5Kw
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) December 18, 2017