Twitter: Threatening to burn “k*kes” in ovens is not “hateful conduct”

Deputy Washington Editor of the New York Times, Jonathan Weisman, announced this morning that he is abandoning Twitter as a social media platform after Twitter bizarrely claimed that threatening to kill “k*kes” is not a violation of the company’s terms of service.

Twitter, like much of the Internet, has become a cesspool of hate. While I still enjoy using Twitter to follow my political contacts, the rest of the service is the realm of virtual superpredators who troll the service, in bands, waiting for someone — usually Jews and women — to pounce on.

Two of the most recent high-profile anti-Semitic attacks on Twitter against Times writers Julia Ioffe and Jonathan Weisman. Both were perpetrated by Donald Trump supporters.

by default 2016-04-28 at 10.24.39 AMIoffe’s sin was writing a profile of Trump’s wife Melania for GQ magazine. Trump supporters swarmed Ioffe, sending her pictures of herself as a concentration camp victim, repeated jokes about Auschwitz and killing Jews, phone calls with recordings of Hitler on the other line, and they even tried to send a dead-body clean-up service to her home. Message received.

Weisman wrote a piece in the NYT about his experience:

The anti-Semitic hate, much of it from self-identified Donald J. Trump supporters, hasn’t stopped since. Trump God Emperor sent me the Nazi iconography of the shiftless, hooknosed Jew. I was served an image of the gates of Auschwitz, the famous words “Arbeit Macht Frei” replaced without irony with “Machen Amerika Great.” Holocaust taunts, like a path of dollar bills leading into an oven, were followed by Holocaust denial. The Jew as leftist puppet master from @DonaldTrumpLA was joined by the Jew as conservative fifth columnist, orchestrating war for Israel. That one came from someone who tagged himself a proud future member of the Trump Deportation Squad.

Weisman announced this morning that, at the request of senior officials at Twitter, he reported several of the worst tweets to the company. Twitter has now responded that the tweets are an entirely acceptable form of speech that does not in any way violate Twitter’s terms of service.

by default 2016-06-08 at 11.15.06 AM

by default 2016-06-08 at 11.17.06 AM

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Here is a tweet that Weisman sent Twitter. Note that Weisman’s initial tweet was entirely innocuous:

by default 2016-06-08 at 10.45.28 AM

Here’s another:

by default 2016-06-08 at 10.45.56 AM

I decided to review Twitter’s terms of service, and it sure sounds like calling Jews “kikes,” seizing their assets Hitler-style, and threatening to kill them in ovens concentration-camp style is a violation of the company’s TOS. Specifically, the following parts of Twitter’s “rules,” which are part of its TOS, and clearly relevant to the case above:

Any accounts and related accounts engaging in the activities specified below may be temporarily locked and/or subject to permanent suspension.

  • Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
  • Harassment: You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Some of the factors that we may consider when evaluating abusive behavior include:
    – if a primary purpose of the reported account is to harass or send abusive messages to others;
    – if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats;
    – if the reported account is inciting others to harass another account; and
    – if the reported account is sending harassing messages to an account from multiple accounts.
  • Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

Obviously, Weisman’s attacker is violating Twitter’s rules against “harassment” and “hateful conduct,” and in addition, the person is clearly making a “violent threat.”

There’s an interesting civil rights law question about Twitter’s refusal to police this effort to constructively kick Jews off of the service. If Twitter were a department store, and the store owners made it clear that they had no problem permitting Jews to be routinely forced out of the store by angry mobs, you’d likely have a civil rights lawsuit on your hands.

Now, civil rights laws about public accommodations weren’t written with the Internet in mind. You’d like need to update state and federal laws on the subject. But it would be interesting for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to start an investigation and see whether it has any wiggle room to get involved.

In the meantime, perhaps the ADL, among others, should start asking Twitter’s venture capital investors why they feel burning “k*kes” in ovens isn’t “violent,” “harassment,” or “hateful.”

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis  


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in New York City, and is the cofounder of TimeToResign.com. Bio, .

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  • A lot of them probably got sick of the Hill-Bot Bernie hit pieces.

  • It dates back to Plato with the Ring of Gyges from The Republic.

  • ComradeRutherford

    But if Twitter enforced their TOS, no one would be left on there except for a couple hundred not-insane people. You can see how that would interfere with Twitter’s revenue.

  • Duke Woolworth

    The whole twitter enterprise is a waste of electrons.

  • Doraahoward3

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  • Most of the negative crap I see on twitter are people retweeting their haters. I realize it gets ugly and I’m hardly a famous person with lots of followers so unless someone objects to retweets about opera and cute animals, I’m probably not going to get a lot. I’ve had a few and I blocked them. I can see how someone more active or more well known my have a problem. I don’t understand the ones who seem to follow people just to troll them. People like that need help.

  • Scout Wellsrain

    HAAHAHA! Guess what, kykes! We’re winning. Your repeated attempts to joo the narrative (OY VEY! MUH 6 trillionz) now fall on deaf ears, as the suffering you have intentionally inflicted upon whites in Europe and the US has outstripped the sympathy you can curry. You’ve blown it in the propaganda wars. You got overconfident and have permanently lost control of the narrative. Surprize! All the cool kids are fashy now. Race-mixing, tranny bathrooms, the international destruction (and open mocking) of the white working class in the name of your shekels, for just a few examples- the public support THAT MATTERS for all this has gone the way of crystal power and new age music. You’re losing- and it feels good! And the comeuppance will (((echo))) throughout history. You are about to be shoahn the door. This is only the beginning. For five decades being a destroyer of white identity was seen as “cutting edge” and “progressive”. Not anymore! You pushed too hard, and now that the “mainstream” is learning that apefirmative action causes formerly reliable institutions to collapse; as white americans are constantly lectured that they are to blame for what “communities of color” do to THEMSELVES and are everlastingly tapped for gibs/reparations; as the MSM’s overt lies become more obviously laughable as those “culture creators” in said MSM become more laughably out of touch with how laughable they are, the outrage of the elites gives us the same keks the yippies got in the 60s. For decades dissent was successfully repressed and ignored. We shitlords of the alt-right get media coverage CONSTANTLY. I personally would like to thank you for this. Thanks. WE ARE WINNING. WE NOW CONTROL THE NARRATIVE. WE OWN NEW MEDIA. Goodbye, hippie boomer lames. IT IS THE AGE OF THE SHITLORD.

  • goulo

    Or there’s not much to say other than, yep, we all agree, that sucks.

    Your not-so-veiled insinuation that Sanders supporters are not really “progressives” or that they support neo-Nazis seems pretty dubious and trolling. Wink, wink.

  • Aw, thanks for that. Hopefully, revenge will be served on election day:)

  • Zorba

    I am so very, very sorry. And you are a strong woman for not leaving Twitter. I admire your strength, and I send you healing thoughts.
    Namaste, my sister.

  • WampusKat

    Have you noticed since the Dem primary has concluded with Clinton’s nomination, that the comments have fallen off drastically around here? Apparently, the so-called “progressives” who turned your comment section into a Hillary hate-on aren’t all that concerned about the issue of neo-Nazi Trump supporters targeting people via social media, coincidentally (wink, wink)..

  • goulo

    The anonymity (or pseudo-anononymity, or mere distance) of the internet really brings out the worst in an awful lot of people. :(

    And the grotesque obsession of hateful trolls with Jews is really bizarre.

  • They cross a line that most people would never cross. I get these sorts of tweets every single day – sometimes all day long. Twitter does nothing. Thank you for your thoughts.

  • Twitter has long been a cesspit of unrestrained hate speech of all kinds, up to and including stalking, harassment, and threats of violence.

    Part of the trouble is they don’t have nearly enough staff to deal with the blizzard of legitimate complaints — and they haven’t even bothered to put in key-word tagging which would automatically flag certain words or phrases. Basically though, if you have only a small number of admins and they’re graded not on whether they ban bad Twitter users but on the volume of complaints they process, guess what will happen? Obvious vileness will be rubber stamped as “not a problem, bye.”

    Sadly, this problem — and this lack of responsible operation — isn’t limited just to Twitter. YouTube comments. Reddit. Facebook. And even Disqus. All of them fail to police their own media platforms.

  • My god, that is just f*cking vile… How can someone do shit like this? I’m so sorry.

  • Hue-Man

    TWTR (Nasdaq) is a public company with a market capitalization of $10 billion.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/twtr

    It has a Board of Directors which includes the CFO of PepsiCo. Hint: “Do you and Pepsi support the extermination of Jewish-Americans?”

    https://about.twitter.com/company

    Thankfully I refused to give my personal information to Twitter (or to Facebook) so don’t particularly care if they succeed, fail, or turn into a giant cesspit. Whatever positive things they may have done in the past don’t make up for what they’ve become today.

  • I have reported him and countless others to no avail. Feel free to add it:-)

  • Would you mind if I add this to the post? And have you reported this guy?

  • I have literally hundreds of them. Dozens of times per day, they tweet me images of my husband’s grave. You know, because that will make me vote for Trump! After I was doxed over a year ago, they found out my husband died of a drug overdose. They send me images such as this one. All of them are Trump supporters, mostly Neo-Nazis.

  • Do you have any of the tweets you could share here? If you don’t mind.

  • Twitter has become a cesspool. Trump supporters put my dead husband in the gas chamber with me flicking the switch. I do not blame the guy for leaving Twitter. I’ve considered it many times but I did not want them to feel that they could silence me.

    This guy’s account is still active and so are dozens like it that have tweeted me various memes.

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