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Activists Want Twitter to Ban White Supremacists


Community activists from Charlottesville are asking Twitter to ban white supremacists in advance of August 12th – the 2nd anniversary of a violent rally called Unite the Right.

A coalition of 55 civil and digital rights groups held a press call urging Twitter to block the accounts of white supremacists, saying the company profits from hate and has been slow to change its policies.  

"Many of the same violent extremists that helped organize the Charlottesville rally remain on Twitter," says Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesman for the group. "There are neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists, people who proclaim that whites are genetically superior to black and brown people, the former grand wizard of the KKK, and a man who celebrated Heather Heyer’s death."

She cited one study that found white supremacists posting an average of 4,000 tweets a year and argued the platform is being used to promote societies that would exclude people of color.

" We should make no mistake about it. This is a sophisticated and organized network designed to bring about white ethno-states," she said.

Twitter told RADIO IQ that it has policies against threats or wishes of physical harm or death to any individual or group, and it bans users from attacks based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or religion. The company claims it has suspended more than 2,100 accounts since implementing its rules on violent extremists.  

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief