Sunday, June 16, 2019

"Alt-America" author suspended from Twitter because his book cover (in his profile) has a hateful avatar for documentation purposes



Author David Neiwert was suspended from Twitter when his book cover “Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump” graced his profile, with its multiple Klan-head images.  The book is published by Verso (2017).

Twitter policy doesn’t allow depiction of symbols from known hate groups, period, even in commentary.


Pool’s video above shows part of the response sent to Neiwert, as recognizing it is newsworthy but that it will confuse many uneducated viewers and drive them away form the platform, especially in mobile view, where they cannot see the context.  This seems to be a “business driven” policy by Twitter.

Nick R Martin has an article explaining this incident in “The Daily Beast”.  I did not link to the article on Twitter because the images would embed, although I think there are ways to manipulate Twitter settings to warn users about troubling content (My tweets). 

Because of the controversy, I will not embed the Amazon image on this post.

But YouTube's embed of Tim Pool's story does include a picture of the cover with the avatars.  This seems permissible on YouTube right now (for now). So I let this embed stand. It would be possible for Tim to edit the video strike page so that something not containing the avatars appears instead, but that is up to him.

There is a flaw in Twitter's policy in that hate groups will simply change their dog whistles.
  
This does not bode well for the resolution of the current issue of monetizing livestream news on YouTube (as with Ford Fischer) and Facebook, either.

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