“We’re here today because Twitter is complicit in the proliferation of white-nationalist propaganda on its platform!”
—MediaJustice National Field Organizer Erin Shields
It’s an early Tuesday morning when Twitter employees rushing into work are met by a group of activists holding posters displaying blown-up tweets from white supremacists. The protesters are chanting into a bullhorn and demanding that Twitter ban white supremacists.
“1, 2, 3, 4, listen Jack we’re at your door. 5, 6, 7, 8, we won’t tolerate the hate!”
A little over a year ago, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified before Congress about the safety of users on his platform:
“We must ensure that all voices can be heard. We must continue to make improvements to our service so that everyone feels safe participating in the public conversation — whether they are speaking or simply listening. And we must ensure that people can trust in the credibility of the conversation and its participants.”
Dorsey has failed to live up to these lofty words. Twitter remains a toxic breeding ground for hate filled with white supremacists who have called for the annihilation of Muslims and likened immigrants to pests. People including a former KKK grand wizard are still able to indoctrinate others, fundraise and organize activities that threaten our diverse communities. Their hate poisons the platform and puts our lives in danger.
This is why Free Press, Color Of Change, the Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups co-founded the Change the Terms campaign in October 2018: to push tech companies like Twitter to adopt model policies we’ve developed that are designed to crack down on hate.
Change the Terms is now a coalition of more than 55 civil-rights, human-rights and digital-rights organizations. Coalition members Color Of Change, CREDO Action, Free Press and MediaJustice joined with the Greenlining Institute on Nov. 19 to demand that Dorsey ban white supremacists from Twitter.
“Hey hey, ho ho, white supremacists have got to go!”
We showed up outside Twitter headquarters to not only call Dorsey out but to submit over 100,000 signatures from people who are urging the platform to ban white supremacists.
Free Press VP and Change the Terms co-founder Jessica J. González gave the following remarks:
“Change the Terms is here to talk about the problem on Twitter and on all social-media platforms where white supremacists are convening to organize, fundraise, recruit and legitimize violence against our communities. We will not stand by and take it. We’re here today because unlike Facebook and YouTube, Twitter has refused to ban white supremacists from its site.
“White supremacists run rampant on Twitter: that is their meeting place, that is the place they use to legitimize our kids being locked in cages, our kids being separated from their families, to legitimize violence against Black people and go so far as to call for the end of people of the Muslim faith. Change the Terms is here to say no more.”
After the activists chanted and gave remarks, Twitter security escorted representatives of the group inside the company’s lobby to deliver the petitions.
“Jack Dorsey, you have a choice: Protect our rights, protect our voice!”
Change the Terms will continue to persist until our demands are met. A new Free Press report found that Twitter leadership “has fallen very short in making its site safe for its users.”
Though Dorsey committed to a civil-rights audit of the platform during his congressional testimony a year ago, the company has taken no action to initiate it. Twitter also ignored leaders from Charlottesville, Virginia, who joined Change the Terms on the anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally in September to urge the company to prohibit white supremacists. The rally, which resulted in the killing of peaceful protester Heather Heyer, was organized on Twitter.
Join us in calling on the company to ban white supremacists by signing the petition here.