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This week I interviewed the incredible Mutale Nkonde for our members-only podcast. We talked artifical intelligence, deepfakes, and racial bias. Support us on Patreon and have a listen!
Twitter Suspends Journalist’s Account Over Book Cover Illustration
By Melissa Ryan
This week Twitter suspended David Neiwert, author of Alt-America and an investigative journalist who has covered the American far right for decades. According to David, Twitter suspended him over the use of his book cover for Alt-America. The offending image has been his Twitter cover image for ages but now they’ve decided is against their media policy.
The suspension is clearly a mistake that should be easily cleared up but inexplicably it hasn’t. This despite coverage in The Daily Beast, and multiple viral tweets on David’s behalf from journalists and advocates. By now Twitter is aware of David’s situation because The Daily Beast asked them for comment (they declined), but days after the suspension David’s account remains inaccessible. David told me that he refuses to remove the image on principle, something he’s articulated to Twitter as well.
Watching this all unfold, I’ve been struck by the lack of online outrage on David’s behalf. It’s not that people don’t have his back, they do, but no one else has built an outrage engine that’s an ounce as effective as what the America far right has built.
If David were a far-right personality, his plight would be trending on Twitter. Every far-right online community would be posting, meme-ing, brigading and galvanizing support on his behalf. Trolls would harass anyone who dared suggest Twitter had done the right thing suspending his account. A GoFundMe page would be set up on David’s behalf. Fox News would cover the story, possibly in prime time. Elected officials would cite this as another example of how tech platforms are biased against the right. They’d send fundraising emails about it and demand answers from tech executives during hearings. Trump Jr. would absolutely tweet about David and potentially so would Junior’s Dad.
If David were a far-right personality, Twitter would be on the defensive for months. Nothing the company said or did would placate the right, but Twitter would still bend over backwards to appease them.
Getting back to Twitter, the suspension was likely a mistake of automated moderation, but they’re standing by it. David has their explanation up at Daily Kos and it’s every bit as dumb as you’d expect. Especially given how many White Nationalists Twitter still gives free rein to harass and radicalize others on their platform.
If you’d like to learn more about David Neiwert and his work, I recently interviewed him for our Patreon podcast. The recording is now available to anyone. Listen Here.
When Hate Comes to Town
by Simon Murdoch
HOPE not hate doesn’t just monitor and expose the far right. Our charitable arm also aims to tackle the root causes of division in the UK, using experienced community organising and groundbreaking research to work proactively to make individuals and communities more resilient to hate. (My colleague, Rosie Carter, is also in the US right now finding out more about successful approaches to migrant integration in small towns there.)
To help further this, the HOPE not hate Charitable Trust has just launched its new hub site, ‘When Hate Comes to Town’. It’s jam packed with information and resources designed to be accessible and useful for anyone who wants to take a stand against hate and make a difference.
- Equality Labs is out with a new report on Facebook’s problem with hate speech in India and the situation is dire. 93% of hate speech identified and reported to Facebook remains on the platform. The authors warn that “without urgent intervention, such hate speech is likely to be weaponized as a trigger for large-scale communal violence in India.” Read the full report. Vice News coverage.
- Trolls Use a Little-known Twitter Feature to Swarm Others With Abuse, and Their Targets Say Twitter Hasn’t Done Much to Stop It (CNBC)
- How Could Deepfakes Impact the 2020 U.S. Elections? (Nieman Lab)
- The Kremlin’s Strategy for the 2020 U.S. Election: Secure the Base, Split the Opposition (The Daily Beast)
- Google’s LGBTQ Employees Are Furious About YouTube’s Policy Disasters (The Verge)
- Right-Wing Sting Group Project Veritas Is Breaking Facebook’s “Authentic Behavior” Rule. Now What? (The Intercept.)
- Trump Thrives in Areas That Lack Traditional News Outlets (Politico)
- The FBI Admits Black Lives Matter Was Never a Threat. It’s White People You Should Be Worried About (The Root)
Want even more links? Support us on Patreon to receive a second ICYMI post just for CARD members.
Netroots Nation 2019
If you’ll be in Philadelphia for Netroots Nation, don’t miss HOPE not hate Chief Executive Nick Lowles and myself on this panel. The lineup of speakers for this one is incredible, I still can’t believe we managed to get everyone on the same panel! And if you’ll be at the convention be sure to find us and say hello. Meeting CARD readers is always a treat. Details below.
The U.S. Right and the Rise of Authoritarianism Around the World
Friday, Jul. 12 9:00 AM
Ends: Friday, Jul. 12 10:00 AM
The rise of the far right in America is well known. But the cross-pollination between right-wing forces on both sides of the Atlantic, throughout the Western hemisphere and in the global South is often missed. Social media (and data collection) has created new bonds between right-wing forces around the world, and U.S. law governing both political donations and the rules of corporate governance allow unknown amounts of dark money to flow through the global financial system to fund them. This panel will explore the links between the U.S. and right-wing movements around the world, as well as how social media strategies have allowed these movements to manipulate public opinion and exploit the data of everyday people.
Featuring: Adele M. Stan, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Cristina López G., and Nick Lowles.
That’s all for this week! Talk to you next Sunday.