After Twitter announced a new policy for verifying accounts and emblazoning them with a coveted blue check mark icon, several extreme right-wing media personalities who openly espouse racist views had their verifications revoked and they did not take the development well.
Yesterday, Twitter announced a new set of guidelines dictating what kind of accounts it will verify and said it would “remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines.” Twitter listed “threatening other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease” and “inciting or engaging in harassment of others” as possible reasons to remove an account’s verification.
As Twitter acts to remove verification from accounts that violate the new guidelines, far-right activists who have used Twitter to harass people and spread hate are losing their elevated status on the platform.
Laura Loomer, a far-right activist who routinely harasses public figures under the banner of “journalism” and exploded in anti-Muslim Twitter meltdown last month, was one of a handful of far-right personalities who had their verifications revoked. Loomer fumed that Twitter’s decision was based on her conservative political views and compared the removal of her verification to the Holocaust:
Using “badge politics”, censoring those who don’t worship twitter’s liberal dictator, & implementing procedures to annihilate conservatives from the Internet?
Sounds like twitter is carrying out its own “final solution” for conservatives. https://t.co/yGRaH74Zzv
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 16, 2017
And so it begins. Twitter is quick to call me and others Nazis, but they are literally trying to eradicate my presence. Just like Hitler. https://t.co/qaVWOMKyc0
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 16, 2017
Twitter also permanently banned Tim Gionet, commonly known online as “Baked Alaska,” after Gionet spent nearly a year posting anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi memes to his profile. In retaliation, Gionet took to YouTube for nearly nine hours to complain about Twitter, call his critics “faggots” and “cucks,” falsely accuse Super Deluxe video editor Vic Berger of being a pedophile and urge his followers to harass Will Sommer, a reporter for The Hill:
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) November 15, 2017
James Allsup, a YouTube video blogger who was pictured among the tiki-torch-wielding racists at the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville earlier this year, also uses his Twitter account to push divisive rhetoric and to complain about supposed “anti-white” discrimination, a decades-old talking point from white nationalists. In response to losing his verification, Allsup claimed that Twitter was complicit in “anti-white hatred” and churned out hot takes about Twitter’s new policy:
Now that my account isn’t verified I can post whatever I want and claim it wasn’t me because there wasn’t a blue check. Neat
— James 😇 Allsup (@realJamesAllsup) November 16, 2017
Another far-right YouTube blogger, who goes by the moniker “Wife With a Purpose” and considers herself an alt-right “poster girl,” delivered three predictions in the wake of her lost verified status: Twitter will soon censor “depictions of homemakers,” it will target “images of European heritage and identity,” and it will classify “Christian imagery” as a hate symbol.
Second prediction, on Nov 22nd when Twitter redefines what a “hate symbol” is they will target images of European heritage and identity. pic.twitter.com/qGkdfSfEmx
— Wife with a Purpose 🦃 (@apurposefulwife) November 16, 2017
Alt-right organizer Jason Kessler expressed confusion at the removal of his verification status, which initially sparked the backlash against Twitter. Kessler uses his Twitter account to promote “white rights” and “ethnic consciousness” and used it to celebrate the murder of a liberal counter-protester at the white supremacist Unite the Right rally he helped lead earlier this year, claiming her murder was “payback time.” When his verified status was removed, Kessler said he does not “engage in harassment,” but rather stands for “white rights”:
I’m not sure how they feel I’ve violated even their new policy. I don’t engage in harassment. I simply stand up for white rights and criticize mass immigration policies. They’re also supposed to give a warning & ask you to delete an offending tweet. https://t.co/55RQJBTsE2
— Jason Kessler (@TheMadDimension) November 16, 2017
Tommy Robinson, the former Europe Defense League leader turned Rebel Media personality, consistently displays his disdain for Muslim people on Twitter. Robinson also recently bragged about attending a rally where reporters documented chants calling for a “Jew free” Poland. After losing his verification, Robinson claimed that Twitter has now classified “the truth” as “hate speech”:
The truth is now hate speech pic.twitter.com/LHHFgdD05P
— Tommy Robinson 🇬🇧 (@TRobinsonNewEra) November 15, 2017
Richard Spencer, the white supremacist media darling who claims he coined the term “alt-right,” questioned why he was banned simply for being “proudly white” and called for the federal government to regulate technology companies like Twitter:
Verified no more! Is it not okay to be proudly White? 🤷🏻♂️
— Richard 🦃 Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) November 15, 2017
It’s time for Washington to regulate Silicon Valley.
Law-abiding citizens should have a right to use social networks, payment systems, and hosting, which make up the public square of the 21st century.#NetNeutrality
— Richard 🦃 Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) November 16, 2017