Twitter has suspended the account of former KKK Grand Master David Duke.
Communal groups have welcomed the move amid a campaign urging social media firms to take stronger action on hate speech and antisemitism online.
This comes after a 48-hour boycott of Twitter earlier in the week, protesting the site’s inaction after a stream of antisemitic tweets from grime artist Wiley. Following the boycott, communal groups met with social media firms to relay concerns and urge swifter action.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “In our recent conversations with Twitter and other social media platforms we made it clear that this was not just an issue with one UK rapper; that there were many accounts on the far right which have been allowed to promote antisemitism and other bigotry.”
We are pleased to see that Twitter has taken action against one of the most infamous of these and hope that, as we have previously said, this is just the beginning of a concentrated effort to remove purveyors of vile hate speech from key social media platforms.”
The Community Security Trust said: “David Duke is a notorious antisemite and neo-Nazi, and we welcome his belated removal from Twitter. We hope that other, similar hate leaders will also be removed from the platform.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Twitter has done the right thing by banning arch antisemite and prominent racist David Duke. But why on earth has it taken this long? Yet again Twitter has been slow to act on cases that are not remotely borderline. However, if the 48-hour global boycott earlier this week has brought about a culture change at Twitter, that is to be welcomed, and hopefully the former Grand Wizard is only the first of many Jew-haters to be booted from Twitter.”
Activist Saul Freeman, who tweets under @nuddering, approached former EastEnders actress Tracy-Ann Oberman with the idea of a mass walkout, under the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate.
Following Duke’s suspension by Twitter, Freeman tweeted: “Thanks to the global power of our #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate walkout this week Twitter finally removed one of the foulest & prominent racist accounts: former KKK Grand Master David Duke.”
I know who will be most upset about this right now – and they are not American Nazis.”
A Twitter spokesperson said: “The account you referenced has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of the Twitter Rules on hateful conduct. This enforcement action is in line with our recently-updated guidance on harmful links.”