In a surprising move that is angering some and pleasing others, Twitter last night reinstated the account of alt-right leader Richard Spencer and even gave him a verified check mark.
Back in mid-November, Twitter strategically purged the accounts of many leading alt right leaders on charges of inciting harassment and hate speech. Spencer’s return shows the almost schizophrenic nature of Twitter’s policy regarding hate speech, a policy that has always been opaque and mysterious.
Spencer recently gained national notoriety after chanting “Hail Trump, hail victory” at a meeting for his alt right National Policy Institute. Many call Spencer a white nationalist ne0-Nazi, and his use of the Third Reich slogan certainly makes these labels pretty evident.
In his short time on Twitter, Spencer is back to his usual MO of rallying white identity politics.
Many on the left are furious over Twitter’s decision to reinstate and verify Spencer.
— Sarah Nyberg (@srhbutts) December 11, 2016
It's true. Today Twitter restored the suspended account of one of the worst white supremacists in the US. https://t.co/AcVaLC3pgl
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) December 11, 2016
We ask Twitter to ban Donald Trump, instead they unban Nazi hate monger Richard Spencer. And verify him. Motherfucking slow clap, @jack.
— Mike Monteiro (@monteiro) December 11, 2016
Twitter’s decision is odd, considering its track record of dealing with problem accounts. Usually these types of bans are permanent, and they certainly have never made a full 180 and verified a banned account. And does this decision mean that others who were purged from the site will get a chance to return, like Milo Yiannopoulos, who is not nearly as controversial as Spencer?