The fact that Twitter can be a horribly toxic emotional swamp isn’t news. But recently, when Trump retweeted several violent, anti-Muslim videos from Britain First (a British hate group so horrible its own founder quit), it brought the social media company’s near-total failure to contain its worst elements into focus. But apparently, Twitter has finally decided to boot some of its worst offenders off the service, at least for now.
The Daily Beast reports that, among other things, several Britain First members have had their accounts deleted, including the one sharing the videos. According to Twitter, not simply tweets but also imagery and profile details will be considered, and the bans will be permanent:
If an account’s profile information includes a violent threat or multiple slurs, epithets, racist or sexist tropes, incites fear, or reduces someone to less than human, it will be permanently suspended … Hateful imagery will now be considered sensitive media under our media policy. We consider hateful imagery to be logos, symbols, or images whose purpose is to promote hostility and malice against others based on their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin.
It seems, so far, that Twitter is targeting relatively high profile accounts:
This would seem to be a fairly straightforward process, but these policies have gone off the rails before. Facebook has somewhat similar policies, and recently got in trouble because women complaining about harassment got banned for saying “men are scum.” There’s also the question of Twitter’s notoriously bad enforcement of its own rules, which sees reports of abuse disappear, but when the abused fight back, they’re swiftly suspended. So while Twitter is doing good work here, it also has a long way to go.