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Twitter to issue warnings before swastikas, other hate images

20 December 2017

Just weeks ago, USA president Donald Trump re-tweeted anti-Islam hate messages from Britain First deputy leader Fransen - who is on bail facing trial over four unrelated charges of causing religiously aggravated harassment.

It coincides with the platform enforcing new rules and guidelines created to make Twitter a "safer environment".

Several online civil rights groups, including the Center for Democracy and Technology and the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, have questioned the power of tech giants and cautioned those who cheer corporate take-downs of far-right users and Nazi websites that they could be next.

The Twitter account of Britain First's Jayda Fransen was suspended in what has been dubbed the "Twitter purge".

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Twitter banned a number of accounts associated with far-right extremists Monday morning, including at least one that has been retweeted by President Trump, as it began to institute new rules against hate and harassment.

United Kingdom authorities arrested Golding and Fransen earlier this week over incendiary comments about Islam that they made over the summer in Northern Ireland, the BBC reports. Twitter has also been criticized for the seemingly arbitrary way it enforces its rules and has previously said it plans to do a better job of responding to users' reports of abuse. In August, social media networks began removing white nationalists after hundreds gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, and one of them was charged with murdering a 32-year-old woman by running her down in a auto.

That means users may not use such imagery in live video or profile and header images. Hateful imagery, including swastikas, will be considered "sensitive media", and not immediately displayed as part of the changes to "related content". Other users would then see a warning that would allow them to decide whether to view the post.

It said it was cracking down on "content that glorifies violence or the perpetrators of a violent act" and any account that "abuses or threatens others through their profile information".

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In a statement, the social site said: 'Today, we are starting to enforce these policies across Twitter. "We'll evaluate and iterate on these changes in the coming days and weeks, and will keep you posted on progress along the way".

Last month the site paused its verification process, as well as removing verified "blue tick" badges from right-wing figures, including former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson.

It came following criticism for verifying the account of Jason Kessler, a prominent alt-right figure in the U.S. who organised a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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It also requires governments and businesses to cooperate to mitigate cyber risk and increase the cost to hackers. But it added: "When we must, the USA will act alone to impost costs and consequences for cyber malfeasance".

Twitter to issue warnings before swastikas, other hate images