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3 Jan 2017

Getting Social Media Hate Speech Accounts Suspended ...

Last year, 2016, we specifically created Far Right Watch for a core reason:

To fight Online Hate Speech of every kind.

None of our team are rookies in either the fight against Far Right Extremism or in the digital arena, but this group was founded to formalise our previous co-operative efforts.

Part of this is to identify and target accounts which primarily are set up to disseminate Hate Speech, whether it's Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, Homophobia, Racism, White Supremacy or glorification of Fascism or Nazism - primarily on Twitter, but also on other Social Media platforms.

Our final tally for 2016 was:
  • Hate Speech Accounts Reported: 227
  • Subsequently Suspended: 204
  • Still online, of our 'Top 10 Targets': 3
  • Currently Monitoring: 538
In the process we have, we believe, begun to learn the ins-and-outs behind the processes and steps taken by organisations such as Twitter, and we have become proficient at understanding how their 'Terms and Conditions' are interpreted and enforced.


Rule 1: Report, Report, Report.

Don't moan. Don't whinge. Report.

Nothing will happen, ever, unless you do. In fact, to leave such hatred unreported will simply enbolden those creators of Hate Speech to stretch the envelope even further.

Even if the report doesn't end directly in a suspension, Twitter will alert the account holder, and in many cases those not wishing to lose their accounts will tone down their hatred - we've seen this happen countless times. Think of it as a digital 'warning shot'

In addition, your report may be additional to others, concurrently or previously, and it may be the last straw to allow Twitter to justifiably suspend.




Rule 2: Know, or check, the relevant Terms and Conditions. Report only when an account clearly has violated the Terms. Leave no room for doubt.

We do not report lightly nor frivolously, and we ask you not to do so, as well. It requires careful judgement. A simple difference in opinion is not just cause, nor is an insult, however vile.

Casual knee-jerk reporting for trivial matters is a sure-fire way to get Twitter to ignore your future reports.

On the other hand, as we have found, correct, viable and justifiable reporting seems to engender a quicker response from Twitter in the long-term. It's almost like it's possible to build a 'rep' with Twitter.


Rule 3: Always include example tweets. Make the decision easy for them.

Remember, Twitter are busy, often with those frivolous casual reports we mentioned earlier. Make their job easier by including the specific posts which are in breech. Don't expect them to trawl through threads looking, because they simply won't. They don't have time.

Give them a 'fait accompli', gift-wrapped. Twitter's 'interpretation' of their own Rules is subjective in many instances, help them to reach the right decision.


Rule 4: Monitor and report again, if needed.

Even if Twitter don't suspend immediately, an account will often be 'flagged'. It can take a few repeated occurences to result in removal. That's fair enough, when a post can be construed as 'borderline'.

But don't 'bombard' Twitter with fruitless reports. Bide your time. Strike when the moment is right, when a subsequent post is clearly, again, in breech.


Rule 5: Know that you are in the right.

We have been asked, many times, "Who gave us the right to decide what is and what isn't' hate speech' ?"

The answer is, of course, nobody. And everybody.

We all, as users of Social Media, have a reasonable expectation that the Terms and Conditions that we freely accept as a condition of our participation, will be fairly applied. And we all have the right, nay, the duty, to flag accounts or posts that are offensive, libelous, illegal or threatening. 

You're probably thinking 'but these rules are pretty obvious'. Of course they are. But the obvious isn't always right, or complete. We're able to confirm now that these simple rules do, in fact, work very well.


Are we attacking 'Free Speech' ?

No. Twitter, and other Social Media brands, are commercial organisations. They set their rules to suit. No-one has a legal, moral or God-given right to an account if they break the rules.

Don't like the rules? Fine. Don't sign up.

Go write to a newspaper or stand on a street corner. There's your 'Free Speech', uninhibited.


Far Right Watch Team

Far Right Watch on Twitter