The Twitter account of Louis Farrakhan was suspended Saturday, but the Nation of Islam leader was back on the social media giant in just a few hours as Twitter announced the action had been a mistake.
On Saturday morning, anyone looking for the latest tweets from Farrakhan would have found instead a message that the account was suspended, and an admonition from Twitter that it suspends accounts that violate its rules.
Louis Farrakhan has been suspended 🚨🚨🚨 pic.twitter.com/xI3E2LskIM
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) January 18, 2020
A few hours later, the account was back
A Twitter representative said sending the suspension was an error, adding that “the account was caught by our spam filter in error and has been reinstated,” according to the Washington Examiner.
The episode, naturally, made Twitter users take notice.
I’m against the hate Louis Farrakhan stands for but muzzling him is the wrong solution, especially when Twitter chooses to platform other, arguably more hateful people. There’s zero consistency in the way the rules are applied.
Unless he’s breaking the TOS, don’t suspend him.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) January 18, 2020
For those who think removing the Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan from a social media platform harms his work, consider he has been reforming people now for 65 yrs. You have a long way to catch up to him, His good is deeply rooted in the people; long before social media & long after. pic.twitter.com/PRKJJ8VEDl
— Brian E. Muhammad (@GlobalPeeks) January 18, 2020
He’s a monster, but I prefer to let him remind us of that instead of silencing him.
— Hacker Holdings LLC 😷🖖 (@HoldMyGlencairn) January 18, 2020
Farrakhan’s Twitter account had been in the news earlier last week when Twitter announced that its new rules barring tweets that dehumanize religious groups would include a 2018 Farrakhan tweet that likened Jews to termites.
Farrakhan has long been criticized for anti-Semitic and homophobic comments. Twitter took away Farrakhan’s “verified” status for a tweet that talked about “the Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan.”
“It’s against our rules to dehumanize others based on religion,” a Twitter representative said, according to CNN. “That tweet is now unavailable.”
The 2018 tweet had long been a bone of contention, with Farrakhan’s critics saying it was blatant anti-Semitism, while Twitter insisted the comment did not violate its rules.
In a blog post Tuesday, Twitter said it was acting to enrich the rule about dehumanizing people based on religion after an extensive time of researching the issue.
“[A]fter months of conversations and feedback from the public, external experts and our own teams, we’re expanding our rules against hateful conduct to include language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion,” the blog post said.
Twitter noted it will be lenient with offenders.
“If reported, Tweets that break this rule sent before today will need to be deleted, but will not directly result in any account suspensions because they were Tweeted before the rule was set,” the blog post said.
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