Since about election time, Twitter has been suspending its alt-right users on the basis of spreading hateful conduct. The latest was @bakedalaska, a far-right troll who gained a substantial following during the 2016 presidential election. He used inflammatory language and exaggerated ideas to garner attention to himself, which eventually caught the attention of the Twitter staff, suspending him for violating Twitter’s conduct policies. The user was notorious for being a Nazi sympathizer and even said: “I have no problem with white nationalists.”
Twitter has also verified, then suspended known Nazis such as Richard Spencer, to which he immediately fired back, accusing Twitter of censorship and “trying to airbrush the Alt-Right out of existence.” The Vice-President of Twitter justified the company’s actions by stating:
“There’s a fine line between free expression and abuse and this launch is another step on the path toward getting rid of abuse”.
Although censorship is a valid concern, Twitter, a private corporation, has every right to suspend voices they deem hateful, especially when those voices advocate racism and systematically-upheld oppression. In light of Twitter’s actions against these voices, many have expressed their support.
.@Twitter has removed the "verified" status of several white supremacist nationalist accounts and suspended another.
*stands up, begins clapping*
— Leah McElrath (@leahmcelrath) November 15, 2017
However, as always, it’s of the utmost importance to start conversations about conditions like this. Although frighteningly present, some say Alt-Rightism isn’t as prominent as Twitter or the internet makes it seem. Is it wrong to take away opportunities for speech or should harmful voices not be given the chance to cause destruction?
The said conversation, in any case, can only be achieved when both parties agree on one thing: alt-rightism is bad. It is harmful. It shouldn’t be promoted or replicated in any way, shape or form. Therefore, known white nationalists losing their Twitter accounts shouldn’t really bother anyone.
So, farewell, Baked Alaska! No one will miss you.
Featured Image: Rolling Stone