Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump shared a handful of incendiary anti-Muslim posts on Twitter, originally published by Britain First’s Jayda Fransen.
This week, the tweets disappeared from Trump’s account — because Fransen’s account was blocked as part of Twitter’s putative “purge” of accounts promoting violence.
Fransen was one of the first accounts suspended by Twitter, which introduced a new slate of rules on Monday aimed at accounts pushing hateful messaging. The new rules prohibit “graphic violence and/or adult content” in profile or header images, as well as banning the promotion of violence or threats against others “on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”
Given Trump’s recent tweets promoting her anti-Muslim material, Fransen may be the most high-profile suspension thus far. Fransen, however, was not the only Twitter user whose account breached the new Twitter rules. Fransen’s suspension was joined by Paul Golding, the head of Britain First – who was recently arrested on account of verbal threats.
In the U.S., the most popular user thus far suspended appears to be Brad Griffin, the public relations chief of secessionist, neo-Confederate League of the South. Griffin, who went by Hunter Wallace, was a prolific Twitter user, with tens of thousands of followers. The League of the South’s president, Michael Hill, also saw his account suspended.
Elsewhere, Jared Taylor, one of the so-called intellectuals behind the modern white nationalist movement in the U.S., received a suspension from Twitter. Taylor has been credited by any number of white nationalists, including Richard Spencer, as inspiration for the recent surge in prominent far-right actors. (Spencer’s Twitter account remains live as of Monday morning.) The account for Taylor’s American Renaissance group was also suspended, alongside the account for the American Nazi Party.
Perhaps the least surprising suspension seen on Monday centered on the Traditionalist Worker Party, a far-right group recently detailed in a much-maligned New York Times profile. Nearly a year ago, Twitter suspended Matthew Heimbach, the group’s primary spokesperson, but finally removed the group’s official account this week.
As it is, numerous users on Gab, a social media platform increasingly associated with white nationalists, posted their complaints about the so-called “purge,” claiming that Twitter was stifling free speech by banning certain users from participating on its product.