#TwitterPurge begins as firm suspends accounts deemed hateful, violent

#TwitterPurge begins as firm suspends accounts deemed hateful, violent

Though the suspensions sparked outrage among far-right groups, Twitter's move was anything but sudden. The enforcement of these rules will be a welcome step given how rampant offensive content can be on the platform, but the test will be whether or not Twitter will enforce them consistently.

In November, Oakland's Muslim Advocates asked Twitter to pull down the accounts of Jayda Fransen and Britain First - a far-right and ultranationalist political group that Fransen leads - for violating rules about inciting violence against a particular group.

It was the latest in a steady rollout of policies Twitter hopes will make the social network more approachable for non-users and more palatable for women and people of color - two groups that are among Twitter's most loyal and most vulnerable to the barbs of Internet trolls and abusers.

Some alt-right associated Twitter users feared that the new rules would mean a "purge", with some moving to Gab, a social media site that is alt-right friendly, the Recode report said. But for years, Twitter billed itself as the "free speech wing of the free speech party", exerting little control over its legions of anonymous users.

Twitter Inc TWTR.N said on Monday it would begin issuing a warning before a user can see pictures with Nazi swastikas and other items it determines are hateful imagery, as well as prohibit their use in any profile photos on its social media network. It's also classifying hateful imagery like logos, symbols, or images that are used to promote hostility against others based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity as "sensitive media".

Privately owned tech companies are not subject to the First Amendment, which ensures the right to speech free from government censorship.

It was not immediately clear how many other accounts were suspended upon Twitter's new rules take effect Monday.

The suspensions are part of Twitter attempt to better combat hate-speech and abuse on its platform.

Twitter also said it would suspend "accounts that affiliate with organisations that use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes".

Twitter also ixnayed the Britain First account, as the party's big cheese Paul Golding, various media outlets reported Monday.

But Twitter said it would not cut off accounts for military or government entities, and would consider exceptions "for groups that are now engaging in (or have engaged in) peaceful resolution". "We'll evaluate and iterate on these changes in the coming days and weeks, and will keep you posted on progress along the way", Twitter said in a statement Monday.

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