Twitter: Policing Hate?


Jonathan Bachman

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Pensacola, Fla., Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

Phoenix Johnson, Writer

Donald Trump is a constant conversation topic due to his choice of words on his Twitter account. While most of these posts are about things going on in the government or foreign affairs, some of the more recent ones are questionable, to say the least. This week, Twitter froze the account of a British alt-right group after the President retweeted them.

On November 28, Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos that were posted on Twitter user Jayda Fransen. Fransen is from the UK who is known for sharing anti-Muslim posts onto her account. After Trump retweeted them, Fransen requested help from Trump in avoiding prison time for her harassment of Muslims and what she claims to be “free speech.” Trump has, so far, not responded to her request.

Many people have different opinions on the videos that Trump retweeted. However, the majority of people agree that Trump should not have retweeted these discriminating videos. Raymond Congo, the sponsor for the Interfaith Club at Bob Jones High School, shared his opinion on the actions of our President: “For somebody that is how he is about fake news, I think he should’ve done more research on it than what he did. He posted several videos that were misleading and inaccurate.”

Meenu Bhooshanan, a member of the Interfaith Club, stated that the tweets “show the hypocrisy of his platform because his whole thing is draining the swamp and fighting fake news, but he uses misinformation for his advantage when it suits him.” Trump continues to fight against fake news and yet, he continues to use it to his advantage. Bhooshanan goes on to say that “Americans aren’t stupid and most civic people do their own research. That’s why things like this don’t slip under the radar.”

Even those who support Trump see the danger the videos contain. Lily Hughes, a Republican, says that they should be taken down because “an anti-American video would be taken down, so why not an anti-Muslim?” She goes on to say that it would harmful for Twitter to keep them up with “all the political tension going on.”

Twitter initially said that the anti-Muslim videos won’t be taken down because they don’t break their media policies. However, if you take a look at the guidelines that Twitter provides in their Help Center, you will see that it stated that “in order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we prohibit behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.” Twitter then goes on to say that “you may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

Despite the fact that the videos have been all over the internet, according to a survey, a staggering 73% of BJ students surveyed didn’t know about the them. On both Trump and Fransen’s Twitters, the videos remain undeleted until this week, even after they have been proven to be fake.

These videos are hateful and discriminative towards Muslims and they continue to spread the hate throughout Twitter. Yes, Trump shouldn’t have retweeted them because there are Muslims who are citizens of the U.S. who haven’t done anything wrong, but Twitter should also take a stand to take them down. It’s Twitter’s responsibility to uphold the guidelines that they had put in place for every other user, so they should continue to halt hatred, especially when it’s proven to be fake or misleading.