PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Twitter has renewed its stance against online abuse, but an anti-defamation group believes there’s more that could be done.
Following the release of new tools to combat online abuse, Twitter has suspended the accounts of several “alt-right” figures known for their racist views.
“We’ve seen in the aftermath of this campaign the hate that’s bubbling under the surface and I think it does add to the urgency of Twitter’s acting,” says Steve Freeman, Anti-Defamation League Deputy Director, Policy and Programs.
Richard Spencer — one of the alt right movement’s founders — took to YouTube to respond to his suspension.
“There is a great purge going on and they are purging people based on their views,” he says.
Freeman says the ADL welcomes the steps Twitter is taking, but they need to take a consistent line when it comes to policy:
“I think there are things they could do more proactively. Whether there are technological tools that they can be implementing, proactively look at tweets themselves without waiting for people to flag them, and the other thing I think is important is encouraging counter speech initiatives and encouraging people to speak out, post when they see abuse or hate.”
Twitter has not commented on the suspensions, but their policy defines hateful conduct as attacks or threats or promotion of violence against people “on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.”
In July, Twitter permanently banned conservative Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos for targeting “Ghostbusters” and “SNL” star Leslie Jones, who temporarily quit Twitter after being bombarded with abusive messages.