Twitter began enforcing new rules today to suspend users affiliated with hate groups “on and off the platform” — a policy that already has led to the disabling of some alt-right accounts.
Initially announced in November, Twitter also started penalizing users whose profiles include “hateful imagery and display names,” presumably including Nazi insignia, or those who use a “username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behavior.”
For Twitter, the two new restrictions are attempts to combat rampant harassment and abuse on the site. Users affiliated with the alt-right or neo-Nazi movements in particular have seized on the company’s notoriously lax oversight to stoke racial tensions, peddle false news reports and attack their critics, including Democrats. Earlier this year, they organized a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., with the aid of the platform.
To that end, the Dec. 18 enforcement deadline left some of Twitter’s right-leaning users this weekend fearing a full, messy “purge.” Some said they’d be shifting to Gab, an alt-right-friendly social media site, and encouraged their supporters to do the same.