Twitter is preparing to launch a ‘purge’ which could result in a lot of people’s accounts being shut down.
The social network unveiled its new rules on abuse and threats of violence in November and they come into force today.
Anyone who flouts the rules will be banned permanently.
Conservatives and right-wingers fear they will be targeted during the purge and are already calling on supporters to swap to platforms like Gab, which is uncensored and dedicated to freedom of speech.
People on the right often allege that Silicon Valley is gripped by left-wing bias and hellbent on silencing opposing voices.
But left-wingers and liberals fear Twitter has gone too far by allowing members of the far right to use it to spread a message they deem to be hateful.
In the next 2-10 days (they say December 18th!) Twitter will conduct a massive purge/ban/censorship of right-leaning/conservative/libertarian accounts. Now is the time – trade phone numbers, email addresses, DM your contacts, don't let Twitter cut you off from your friends! pic.twitter.com/cgHtUOcBXM
— Craig R. Brittain for US Senate (R-AZ 2018) (@SenatorBrittain) December 15, 2017
tomoro twitter implements new rules, which some are calling “the purge”. notably, they’re banning users affiliated w/ orgs that promote violence—both on and offline.
i’m curious about implementation. what counts as promoting violence? will they ban neo-nazis? what about antifa? pic.twitter.com/ihRbPteC7c
— Laci Green (@gogreen18) December 18, 2017
The new rules will target abuse, hateful conduct and threats of physical harm.
One of these rules will forbid the promotion of organisations that promote violence against civilians either on Twitter or offline in the real world.
This is likely to be used against accounts which support Isis. It is not clear whether it will be used to censor accounts run by violent members of the left-leaning ‘Antifa’ movement or used exclusively against right-wing organisations.
The new guidelines also ban ‘hateful images or symbols’ in user profiles or biographies.
Last month the site paused its verification process, as well as removing verified ‘blue tick’ badges from right-wing figures, including former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.
This came after it was criticised for verifying the account of Jason Kessler, a prominent alt-right figure in the US who organised a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Twitter said the verified badge was never meant as a sign of endorsement, and the firm’s boss Jack Dorsey described the process as ‘broken’.
The success of Twitter and other social networks has been blamed for creating a phenomenon called ‘the filter bubble’, which means people very rarely hear from people whose opinions are different to their own.
This problem can only get worse if right-wing people decamp to different social networks, as it means the chances of people having conversations across the political divide will become even smaller.
The new rules will be published in full later on today.
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