Twitter on Monday suspended the account of a top official of a far-right British group whose anti-Muslim videos President Donald Trump retweeted last month, amid the company’s move to crack down on content that promotes hate or threatens violence against people or groups.
The implementation of Twitter’s new rules was the latest attempt by technology companies to crack down on abuses of their platforms in the aftermath of Charlottesville’s bloody demonstration in August. Though Twitter’s announcement in a morning blog post did not make this connection explicit, companies have been scrambling for months to address allegations that their platforms had become breeding grounds for extremist groups.
Far-right political figures have been criticizing these moves as assaults on their rights to free speech, and some have called Twitter’s new policy part of an effort to “purge” them. Among those whose accounts went offline Monday were three affiliated with the group Britain First, including its main account and those maintained by its leader, Paul Golding, and his deputy Jayda Fransen. It was her anti-Muslim posts last month that were retweeted by President Trump, a move that earned him sharp rebuke from British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The White House had no immediate comment on the suspension of the accounts of Fransen and others. Britain First also did not immediately return requests for comment.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Hayley Tsukayama, Craig Timberg