Some people who use Twitter had a very unpleasant surprise recently, when they saw “promoted tweets” (read: advertisements) appearing in their timeline espousing overt white supremacism. These tweets were placed by a notorious troll named Andrew “weev” Auernheimer — but he’s not just trolling, he apparently really is a straight up white supremacist, with a swastika tattoo and everything.
But today, Auernheimer’s ads have been shut down by Twitter, which is excellent news.
Among the tweets promoted by Auernheimer was one that read: “Whites need to stand up for one another and defend ourselves from violence and discrimination. Our race is dying.” A second promoted tweet read: “White pride, world wide. Do you know the 14 words?” - a reference to the white nationalist credo: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
But a further attempt to promote the first tweet a day later led to a rejection from Twitter, which cited a ban on ads dealing with hate content, sensitive topics and violence.
There’s another question that should be asked, though: why does Twitter allow open racists and white supremacists to use their service at all? Yes, they have a First Amendment right to say what they want, but Twitter is a private company and the First Amendment applies only to the government. What does Twitter gain by permitting racists to spew hatred, except a lot of ill will?
By the way, Auernheimer does have at least one fan on Twitter: our stalker pal Chuck C. Johnson, who has retweeted many of Auernheimer’s ugly posts. For example: