Washington, D.C. — Today, Twitter permanently suspended former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke from the platform after he continuously broke the tech giant’s rules against disseminating hateful content. This decision aligns with Twitter’s new hate speech policy, updated only a few days ago, to stop including links that spread hateful conduct and dangerous xenophobic ideologies, and reverses its previous decision to allow Duke to continue his bigotry by linking to hateful content from his Twitter feed.
Henry Fernandez, senior fellow for Anti-Hate at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response to Twitter’s decision:
The muted efforts of giant social media companies to address racial violence and hate crimes perpetrated via their platforms have had terrible consequences. We have witnessed white nationalist rhetoric being fueled on social media leading to real-world violence including mass killings in El Paso, Texas; Gilroy, California; and, Christchurch, New Zealand.
For two years, the Change the Terms coalition has called on Twitter to stop white nationalists from organizing, fundraising, recruiting, and normalizing attacks on women and people of color on its platform. Change the Terms demanded that Duke and others who organized the deadly violence at Charlottesville be removed from Twitter. We did this in private meetings with Twitter’s leaders, but also in protests outside Twitter headquarters and at events with social justice organizers from Charlottesville. These discussions were initially like banging our head against a brick wall. But over the last several months, we have seen real change at Twitter as they develop new policies and employ people with real expertise in addressing hate on social media.
We look forward to Twitter’s continued work to remove hate from their platform. Indeed, other organizers of the violent racism at Charlottesville, such as Richard Spencer, are still on Twitter. But today is an important step and we commend Twitter for taking it.