Firebrand media columnist Katie Hopkins has been temporarily locked out of Twitter after an intervention from Countdown presenter Rachel Riley.
Riley, who previously spoke out about her experience of social media abuse, accompanied Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), to a meeting with Twitter executives on Tuesday where they discussed steps to combat online racism.
Riley, who is a patron of CCDH, echoed the anti-racism group’s demand for “a full review” of both Hopkins and the commentator George Galloway’s ability to “use the platform to spread hate.”
They also called on Twitter to reinstate a feature allowing users to export and import lists of blocked accounts and said they hope to work with the firm on a new project that would make it easier to share these lists.
Hopkins, who has over one million Twitter followers, has been stalked by accusations of racism. She deleted a tweet in 2018 appearing to link the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ support for “mass migration across the [Mediterranean Sea]” to the Pittsburgh synagogue attack that claimed the lives of 11 people.
Tweets previously visible on her news-feed appear to have been mass-deleted overnight. A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed on Wednesday she had been temporarily locked out of her account for breaching the platform’s hateful conduct policy.
“Keeping Twitter safe is a top priority for us – abuse and harassment have no place on the service. We take enforcement action against any account that is violative of our rules – which includes violations of our hateful conduct policy and abusive behaviour policy. These rules apply to everyone using our service – regardless of the account involved,” the spokesperson said.
Jewish News understands Ahmed and Riley pointed to social media messages previously written by Hopkins and Galloway during Tuesday’s meeting.
Material discussed included Galloway recent tweet blaming “settlers” for the death of an eight-year-old boy in East Jerusalem. Israeli media reported Qais Abu-Ramila had apparently accidentally drowned in a pool of water, citing police sources. Galloway’s tweet, pinned to the top of his page, which has over 340,000 followers, drew accusations of “blood libel”.
Riley said on Thursday she was “pleased” by the development, writing: “This is what happens when they have the #WillToAct.”
Echoing the Countdown star, Ahmed said he was “pleased that preliminary action appears to have been taken by Twitter against the identity-based hate actor, Katie Hopkins following productive discussions with Twitter’s UK office.”
But he noted: “There is a long road ahead before social media is made safe for dialogue, information exchange and the formation and maintenance of relationships.
“The fact parents are so hesitant and fearful of allowing children onto social media platforms shows how toxic many of these environments have become.
“We believe social media can empower the world to be even better, but handing megaphones to hate actors is irresponsible and dangerous.”
A Facebook group called “Truthers Against Zionist Lobbies” was removed from the platform last year after Riley and CCDH submitted a dossier of allegedly antisemitic material to the social media company.
George Galloway and Katie Hopkins approached for comment.