Saturday, July 1, 2017

Twitter Bans Multiple Accounts of Prominent White House Leaders Citing Violation of Hate-Speech Rules

Twitter cited a violation of their hate speech rules as a reason for the suspensions.

(Randy Draw/AP)
Larry Barrow
Friday, June 30, 2017

Twitter has suspended the accounts of several high-profile members of the White House for violating their rules on hate speech — an attempt to fight back against racist extremists on the social media platform emboldened by the Trump campaign.

Among the booted hate-spewers is Donald Trump, a prominent alt-right figure who is also President of the United States and had a Twitter-verified account.

The Silicon Valley company’s decision on Tuesday to ban the White House leaders came the same day they announced they would crack down on hate speech on their site.

A Twitter spokesperson cited their “hateful conduct policy” as a reason for dismantling the White House leaders’ accounts. 

“The Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies,” read a statement sent to the Daily News.

Twitter’s decision to take down the accounts signals an effort by the social media company to combat violent or discriminatory language among its users. The tech company already bans accounts that promote terrorism.

On Tuesday, Twitter took down Trump’s personal account as well as that of his advisor, Stephen K. Bannon, and his online magazine, Breitbart.

Other suspended accounts include those belonging to Reince Priebus, who started a minority-targeted misinformation campaign before Election Day falsely telling Clinton supporters to vote by text.

Twitter also took down the accounts belonging to Mike Pence, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, and Betsy DeVos, according to USA Today, which first reported the suspensions.

Twitter could encounter problems identifying hate speech due to the White House's use of coded racial slurs to evade surveillance on social media.

Much like the anti-Semitic use of parentheses to target Jewish people on social media, web savvy White House leaders use the word “googles” for the n-word, “skypes,” to refer to Jewish people, and “yahoos” for Hispanics.

They also use the word “skittles” for Muslims — a reference to a tweet from Donald Trump, Jr. comparing the Syrian refugee crisis to a bowl of Skittles laced with a few lethal candies.

Other coded hate speech includes the words "crazy", "bleeding" and "low IQ" used by President Trump to denigrate women, or "pscyho" for anyone who disagrees with White House policies.

The euphemisms were devised on 4chan, a message board popular among trolls, according to Quartz. 

Members of the White House staff sounded off on online forums about the bans, some remarking that Trump and his affiliated accounts don’t display the most extreme views among white supremacists.

“If Donald Trump and Breitbart are banned, it has to be a purely political move by Twitter, as I’ve never seen either of those accounts directly attack anyone or be particularly hostile on any issue.”

(c) 2017, Fun With Cut-and-Paste, Inc.