Twitter starts enforcing new rules to combat hateful and abusive content

Leaders of Britain First have their Twitter accounts suspended

Golding and Fransen confirmed the suspensions on their own Facebook pages, but did not comment further. The enforcement of these rules will be a welcome step given how rampant offensive content can be on the platform, but the test will be whether or not Twitter will enforce them consistently.

Twitter has deactivated the account of the far-right British activist behind those anti-Muslim tweets of videos, retweeted by President Trump.

Twitter suspended an unknown number of accounts on Monday, including one belonging to Jayda Fransen, the Britain First leader whose videos critical of Islam were retweeted multiple times by U.S. President Donald Trump last month.

It was the latest in a steady rollout of policies Twitter hopes will make the social network more approachable for non-users and more palatable for women and people of color - two groups that are among Twitter's most loyal and most vulnerable to the barbs of Internet trolls and abusers.

"Any tool that enables censorship online can be used against potentially everyone - regardless of ideology", Emma Llansó, the director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said after several far-right groups were removed from social media sites this summer.

"Our hateful conduct policy and rules against abusive behavior prohibit promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of their group characteristics, as well as engaging in abusive behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another person's voice", the company wrote in a Monday blog post.

If a user posts hateful symbols or images, it must be marked "sensitive media".

Twitter has 330 million monthly active users.

Privately owned tech companies are not subject to the First Amendment, which ensures the right to speech free from government censorship. Twitter has also been criticized for the seemingly arbitrary way it enforces its rules and has previously said it plans to do a better job of responding to users' reports of abuse.

The group's main account as well as those of leader Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen were first blocked by Twitter on Monday, according to The Telegraph.

Some of the changes include permanently suspending accounts affiliated with groups that use violence to advance their cause.

But Twitter said it would not cut off accounts for military or government entities, and would consider exceptions "for groups that are now engaging in (or have engaged in) peaceful resolution".

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