Well, I already knew that Twitter can be unbelievably stupid when it comes to handling removal and suspension of the accounts of journalists who cover the radical Right. I just had no idea it was this stupid.
Yes, Twitter suspended my account today. The reason? I have an image from the cover of my 2017 book, Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump, in my profile shot. It is a clever satirical image, created by a marvelous artist at Verso Books, that transforms the stars in the flag into KKK hoods.
When I awoke this morning and logged in to Twitter, it informed me that the image violated Twitter rules and that I would have to take it down before I could access my account. I replied to them:
My account was suspended because of the photo of the cover of my book in my profile. This book, 'Alt-America,' is a history of the rise of the radical right in the United States over the past 30 years. It naturally has an illustration featuring KKK hoods because that is its subject. I am one of the nation's leading experts on this subject, and it is insane that you would suspend my account because of this photo. I refuse to remove it on principle.
It's still early, so hopefully Twitter will review my appeal and quickly reverse the suspension.
I know Twitter is having difficulty trying to suss out how it handles the removal of extremist content from its site. It already idiotically blocked Michael Edison Hayden of the Southern Poverty Law Center for posting a tweet calling out a white supremacist leader’s connections to acts of domestic terrorism. That too was insane.
These large tech companies in general are having great difficulty figuring this out. When I ran SPLC’s Hatewatch YouTube channel, we received two strikes from YouTube for having posted extremist content—which is a natural occurrence when you are exposing these groups and their actions. We simply stopped posting any videos there whatsoever out of concern that it might remove our entire library of videos.