Twitter accounts of the leader and deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right group have been suspended by Twitter. Both accounts were unavailable on Monday morning almost as soon as the new Twitter rule came into effect. Also unavailable is the group’s main account, which has probably fallen under the hammer of the microblogging company’s new rules.
The suspension is Twitter’s latest attempt at combatting abuse and on its platform. The issue of constant harassment on Twitter has been on for a while, and has led to the introduction of several rules in the past just to curb the menace.
Just this October, the microblogging company rolled out stricter rules to fight hateful and abusive tweets. The company didn’t actually roll out new rules, but only amended and strengthened existing ones to encourage a safer platform for all.
At the time, Twitter said per TechCrunch that:
“Although we planned on sharing these updates later this week, we hope our approach and upcoming changes, as well as our collaboration with the Trust and Safety Council, show how seriously we are rethinking our rules and how quickly we’re moving to update our policies and how we enforce them.”
In an email it sent to members of its Trust and Safety Council, Twitter’s head of safety policy explained the company’s policy as regards dealing with trolls. So, what’s Twitter doing differently this time around that it had not done or tried to do in the past in terms of dealing with abusive tweets? Going forward, hateful symbols and hateful imagery among others will now be regarded as sensitive media.
The company “will take enforcement action against organizations that use/have historically used violence as a means to advance their cause,” Twitter adds in the email per TechCrunch.
Back in September, Twitter announced that it had so far suspended 300,000 accounts suspected of having links to terrorism. This is not the company’s first effort at making its platform free from trolls as the microblogging website intensified effort to purge its service, and make it a safe place for all.
Twitter is believed to be under intense pressure from governments and activists around the world who want the microblogging company to do more in terms of purging its platform. Twitter, according Bloomberg, is improving its automation tools to help block accounts that promote extremism and violence.
According to Twitter, close to 300,000 accounts were suspended across the world in the first half of 2017. Of the total number of accounts suspended, 95 percent were identified by Twitter’s automation tools. The company through its transparency page said government data request continued to be on the rise. Twitter said it provided authorities with data on around 3,900 accounts between January and June 2017.
The microblogging website said roughly 75 percent of blocked accounts in 2017 were identified before a single tweet was sent. It stated further that the total number of accounts suspended since August 2015 to date stood at 935,897. However, the year 2016 recorded the highest amount of suspended accounts, with two-third of the total figure.