East County News Service
November 16, 2016 (San Diego) — Twitter is taking aim at racism. In dual actions, the company announced it will suspend accounts of prominent ‘alt-right’ leaders who are promoting white supremacy and bigotry. Twitter also released new anti-harassment tools that allow users to block offensive tweets containing key words.
USA Today reports that those whose accounts were cancelled included Richard Spencer, operator of an alt-right think tank who has called for the removal of blacks, Jews, Asians and Hispanics from the United States. Spencer fired back, called Twitter’s censorship “Stalinism.”
Spencer was banned from visiting Britain earlier this year, when British Home Secretary Theresa May suggested his views would foster hatred that could lead to violence.
The Southern Poverty Law Center praised Twitter’s action in temporarily locking out alt-right leaders espousing hate. SPLC, which tracks hate groups across the U.S., tweeted, “Good riddance.”
Twitter has sometimes made such bans permanent, as when it permanently banned Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos in July for reportedly inciting abuse against actress Leslie Jones.
The rise in power of the alt-right movement has alarmed many civil rights experts, particularly after President-Elect Donald Trump named Steve Bannon as White House Chief strategist. Bannon is publisher of Breitbart News, a site which has morphed into a mouthpiece for the alt-right, publishing blatantly racist and anti-Semitic articles, as well as stories denigrating women.