Twitter will begin enforcing new rules tomorrow that will suspend accounts affiliated with hate groups “on and off the platform” — a policy that could lead to a crack down on some alt-right users.
Initially announced in November, Twitter will also start penalizing accounts that include “hateful imagery and display names,” presumably including Nazi insignia, or those who “use [a] username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behavior.”
For Twitter, the two new restrictions are attempts to combat rampant harassment and abuse on the site. Users affiliated with the alt-right or neo-Nazi movements in particular have seized on the company’s notoriously lax oversight to stoke racial tensions, peddle false news reports and attack their critics, including Democrats. Earlier this year, they organized a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia with the aid of the platform.
To that end, the looming, December 18 enforcement deadline left some of Twitter’s right-leaning users this weekend fearing a full, messy “purge.” Some said they’d be shifting to Gab, an alt-right friendly social media site, and encouraged their supporters to do the same.
Twitter did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment on Sunday.