While it has been more than 18 months since executives of Twitter made a vow to eliminate virtually all hate-filled rhetoric on its site, many experts still believe the company has a long way to go to meet its supposed goal. At a recent conference in Vancouver, BC, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey seemed to sidestep many direct questions on this subject. While telling the audience Twitter does have policies in place that allow for immediate action to be taken against individuals or groups actively spreading hate, many wonder nevertheless why as Mr. Dorsey is explaining his company’s policies, more and more white nationalist groups seem to be getting quite comfortable on Twitter.
According to a 2018 study conducted by extremism expert J.M. Berger, it was estimated that more than 100,000 alt-right groups and individuals are using Twitter as their main platform to spread hate. While Twitter will at some point act to take down accounts it views as spreading hate, many experts point to many instances where Twitter acted very slowly in these situations. As an example, when the white supremacist whose shooting led to the murders of 51 people in New Zealand posted links to his manifesto and pictures of his weapons, Twitter only acted after the rampage ended and he was charged with murder.
With instances such as these becoming quite common, it appears as if despite the so-called concerns of Twitter CEO Dorsey, few if any real ramifications are in place to punish those who take to Twitter with their hate-filled messages. According to various social media experts, one of the biggest problems is individuals and groups being able to create numerous fake accounts, allowing them to continue their hate campaigns. Despite many Twitter users reporting these incidents, the company appears to do little if anything to stop this disturbing trend.
In fact, as many social media experts point out, even U.S. President Donald Trump is a frequent violator of Twitter’s policies concerning harassment and abuse, and also uses the online forum to retweet various white nationalist sites and opinions. While advocates of the Constitution’s First Amendment are determined to protect free speech, knowing when that line has been crossed is becoming more and more blurred. Meanwhile, as the debate continues among those at Twitter, on Capitol Hill in Washington, and around the world, it appears as if hate has found an online place to call home.