It Looks Like Hate Speech Wasn’t the Reason Twitter Suspended Richard Spencer After All

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Richard Spencer, head of the alt-right National Policy Institute. Image courtesy of the Daily Stormer.
Richard Spencer, head of the alt-right National Policy Institute. Image courtesy of the Daily Stormer.

Just a month after social media giant Twitter suspended the accounts of several prominent members of the white nationalist alt-right movement, the media company on Sunday, Dec. 11, reinstated the account of bigoted alt-right leader Richard B. Spencer.

According to information provided by a Twitter spokesperson to Atlanta Black Star, Spencer’s account was initially deactivated on Nov. 15 in the wake of Twitter’s newly debuted efforts to crackdown on hate speech and other offensive behavior on its platform.

In the past, the company has been criticized for its delayed response to reports of online abuse and racism, prompting it to unveil a series of innovative tools helping users to more easily report hateful content. Last month’s suspension of the alt-right leader’s numerous Twitter accounts was just one of many new measures to protect users and ensure a hate-free social environment.

Now, it looks like company is reneging on its safety efforts, however.

It turns out that Spencer wasn’t initially suspended for his use of hate speech, but rather for his abuse of multiple accounts with too much overlap, which is explicitly forbidden in Twitter’s online rules and regulations.

Our rules explicitly prohibit creating multiple accounts with overlapping uses,” a Twitter spokesperson told ABS. “When we temporarily suspend multiple accounts for this violation, the account owner can designate one account for reinstatement.”

Early last week, the social media company sent an e-mail to Spencer detailing why his accounts had been suspended and how he could have just ONE of them reinstated, despite his bogus claims that he would eventually have all of them reactivated.

“Hello, As referenced in our November 18, 2016, communication, creating serial and/or multiple accounts with overlapping use is a violation of the Twitter Rules,” the email read. “Please select one account for restoration; the others will remain suspended. Please reply to this email with the username of the account you would like reinstated and we will make sure to answer your request in a timely manner.”

The alt-right leader has since chosen to reinstate his personal account, returning to the Twittersphere as a “verified” figure. The blue tick badge, used to indicate the authenticity of accounts belonging to celebrities, political figures and others at risk of impersonation, basically solidified Spencer as a major Twitter influencer — one who happens to spout support for ideas affiliated with the white nationalist movement.

Twitter emphasized that Spencer’s account was already verified prior to his suspension, adding that,” A verified badge does not imply an endorsement by Twitter.”

Spencer’s reinstatement comes less than a month after a video surfaced of him spewing Nazi-like rhetoric and giving the “Heil Hitler” salute during his speech at the National Policy Institute’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.

“America was, until this past generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” he said in the speech. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance and it belongs to us. Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”