As Protests Rage, Twitter Allows Threats of Violence

Abe Gaustad
3 min readMay 31, 2020

In the midst of widespread demonstrations against the murder of George Floyd by police in Minnesota, Twitter has abandoned even it’s usual permissive moderation policy with respect to white nationalists.

White nationalists Twitter user encouraging violence against another Twitter user.

Twitter’s rules state that “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” Yet, hundreds, if not thousands, of tweets that violate this rule have been left on the site just as the nation is embroiled in demonstrations against racial injustice.

A white nationalist encourages his followers to murder protestors. As of this writing, this incitement to violence has been up on Twitter for over two days.

Twitter has been criticized in the past for allowing white nationalists to post freely. Some white nationalists, like Paul Ramsay, are even allowed to use verified accounts. Ramsay used his verified Twitter platform to call for private citizens to murder looters.

Twitter doesn't merely allow calls for racial violence. Calls for violence against LGBTQ+ Twitter users are also rampant.

White nationalists often refer to their enemies “getting the rope,” a reference to their thus far unfulfilled wish to murder people via hanging.

Twitter’s newfound decision not to moderate racist harassment and violent threats has made white nationalists giddy. They have cheerfully posted form letters from Twitter announcing that their hatred does not violate any policies:

Racist harassment apparently no longer violates the Twitter rules.

With Twitter allowing all manner of hateful content on their platform, some white nationalists have seized the opportunity to post the private information of journalists, as the following Twitter user did to CNN contributor Keith Boykin.

Twitter and other social media platforms have long allowed white nationalism to spread nearly unrestrained. Now, Twitter is neglecting to enforce its own policies at perhaps the most dangerous time of all. Advertisers and investors should think long and hard before deciding to support a company that can’t or won’t enforce its own rules.