Twitter has long been known as a haven for white supremacists and racists looking to direct their abuse specifically towards people of color and LGBT users. In light of the widespread criticism Twitter has faced for its inaction, coming to a head when black comedian Leslie Jones quit the social media site because of the unchecked abuse, the company is now finally taking steps to purge the social media website of accounts spewing hateful and abusive rhetoric.
Twitter has banned several accounts linked to such actions, including Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn and John Rivers. In addition to these bans, Twitter has also implemented new ways for users to report accounts violating Twitter’s policy against abusive posts and users can now mute certain words they don’t wish to see on their timeline.
In response to these changes, alt-right website The Daily Stormer is now claiming that the effort to control the rampant abuse on Twitter is a “purge of Republicans.” In their attempt to counter Twitter putting its own policies in action, Daily Stormer author Andrew Anglin has implored visitors to his blog to “create a fake black person account” on Twitter by copying a model of what black twitter accounts typically post.
Unfortunately for Anglin and his followers, their racism has led to a fundamentally flawed idea of what black Twitter actually is, demonstrated in Anglin’s advice to fill these fake accounts with “rap videos and booty shaking.” The campaign to create fake accounts is flawed to the point that Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson retweeted a screenshot of the Daily Stormer article with a dismissive phrase that indicated the campaign was already failing — “We knew this to be true.”
This latest attempt to spread racist misinformation comes after widespread support throughout the alt-right and by white supremacists for President-elect Donald Trump, inspired by his own racism. According to Anglin, who endorsed Trump on his website, Trump is “giving us the old wink-wink,” a reference to the many racist dog-whistles Trump has used to convince white supremacists to vote for him.
For his own part, Trump himself has refused to denounce his support from the alt-right and has even used his Twitter account to retweet white supremacist conspiracy theorists. Considering his own alt-right ties and his penchant for using Twitter to attack and insult others, we can only hope the President-elect will be the next subject of a Twitter ban.
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