It Gets Worse: Twitter Didn’t Suspend White Supremacist Richard Spencer for Spreading Hatred
Well, Twitter has explained to Vox why they reinstated vile white supremacist Richard Spencer. And the explanation makes this situation even more awful, because they didn’t suspend his account in the first place for his white supremacism or racist hate speech, or for inciting harm against minorities.
They suspended Spencer because he was using more than one account to spread his hatred.
On the surface, it would seem that Twitter’s move to reinstate and re-verify Spencer represents a backward step in the site’s longstanding struggle to fight harassment and hateful behavior on the website. Its hateful conduct policy makes its stance on Spencer’s racist ideology clear:
You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.
So reinstating Spencer would seem to be a backing-off of that claim — that is, if we assume that espousing racism is why Spencer was banned to begin with.
According to Twitter, however, it wasn’t.
A Twitter spokesperson told Vox that Spencer was suspended not for hate speech or for inciting harm, but for having too many accounts: “Our rules explicitly prohibit creating multiple accounts with overlapping uses. When we temporarily suspend multiple accounts for this violation, the account owner can designate one account for reinstatement.”
And that’s what Spencer did. But he’s now bragging that he’s going to get his other accounts reinstated as well, and given Twitter’s feckless response to this massive problem, he very well might.