Jun 2, 2020 - Technology

Twitter acts against violent messages

screenshot of a blocked antifa twitter account
Screenshot: Axios

As Facebook employees criticized the company for not moving against Trump's posts, Twitter took more action Monday against those using its platform to promote violence.

Driving the news: The company suspended a fake Antifa account linked to a white nationalist group and also flagged a tweet from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that it said glorified violence.

Why it matters: The moves show that Twitter, long criticized for failing to crack down on tweets that violate its policies, is taking a more aggressive stance.

Driving the news:

  • Twitter said it had traced the account behind a widely cited tweet calling for violence on Sunday, "ANTIFA_US," to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa.
  • Twitter added a warning label to a tweet from Gaetz that said: "Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?"

Context: As protests about the death of George Floyd spread nationwide over the past week, President Trump and his allies began charging, without evidence, that antifa — a label for a variety of far-left anti-fascist groups and activists — were responsible for the unrest.

Our thought bubble: When an account labeled "antifa" turns out to be controlled by a white supremacist group, it's a reminder that things online aren't necessarily what they appear to be — and that a lot of parties see benefit in spreading divisive lies.

The big picture: Twitter's moves come on top of the company's decision last week to flag two tweets from President Trump, one for potentially misleading people on the mechanics of mail-in voting and another for glorifying violence.

  • After Twitter's action on the mail-in voting tweet, Trump issued an executive order designed to curb the power of social networks to curate speech.

Yes, but: Many people on the left feel Twitter hasn't gone far enough and should delete Trump's offending posts, if not his account entirely. Some on the right, meanwhile, view Twitter's actions as censorship.

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