A Twitter account that exposes online antisemitism has claimed Twitter has banned its use of a Holocaust-era yellow star because it breaches the social media platform’s rules over hateful imagery.
Earlier today the @GnasherJew account, which focuses on antisemitism in the Labour Party, tweeted a screenshot of a message from Twitter announcing that it had blocked the account. It would be unlocked, it said, once the offending image was removed.
The message read: “We have determined that this account violated the Twitter rules. Specifically for: 1. Violating our rules against posting hateful imagery. You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header.
“As a result, we have locked your account. To unlock your account, you must do the following: Delete the Profile Field that violates our rules.”
The decision outraged some social media users, who pointed out that Twitter had targeted a website that aims to combat antisemitism while not acting against genuinely antisemitic content.
One user, Stephen Franklin, posted: "@TwitterUK @TwitterSupport stopped @GnasherJew from using the symbol of Jewish oppression in their account, which is used to fight antisemitism. That rewarded the abuser and punished those who oppose abuse. Please reverse that decision and don't punish those who oppose racism.”
Another user, under the name Jewish American Zionist, wrote: “@Twitter suspends a Jewish org that fight antisemitism & forces them to stop using the Yellow Star of David badge that some of their grandparents were forced to wear during the Shoah. Calls it a rule violation. But tweets to kill Jews they say aren't.”
Wow, I report hundreds of hard core anti-Semites & neo-Nazis who call for the death of Jews & post vile images and they get a slap on the wrist or "no violation", but an amazing account that fights antisemitism in the UK (@GnasherJew) has been suspended. @Twitter hates Jews. pic.twitter.com/We9bymOfDn— Jewish American Zionist (@americanzionism) February 26, 2018
@TwitterUK @TwitterSupport stopped @GnasherJew from using the symbol of Jewish oppression in their account, which is used to fight antisemitism. That rewarded the abuser and punished those who oppose abuse. Please reverse that decision and don't punish those who oppose racism.— Stephen Franklin (@Stevejfgb) February 26, 2018
A spokesman for the @GnasherJew account said: "The fact that twitter took this reporting of our account as “hateful” is outrageous. Our families wore that star, as did our distant ancestors in the Middle Ages. It seems a shameful irony that we are banned from using the yellow Star of David, which the Nazis imposed on their Jewish victims during the Holocaust."
Twitter has come under fire in recent years for a what is claimed to be its failure to act against antisemitic posts.
Critics have argued that social media racism has fuelled a recent rise in antisemitism in the UK and abroad, with the World Jewish Congress finding this month that antisemitic posts have increased by a third in two years.
Within its rules, under the section on abusive behaviour, Twitter does not specify what constitutes "hateful imagery and display names", although it has said it includes "targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category". The rule was introduced in December 2017.