After the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) reported that Twitter was locking accounts featuring Stars of David in their profile pictures, Twitter is reviewing its policy, which it claims was directed at ‘yellow stars’ specifically, which it categorized as “hateful imagery” (Twitter Locks Accounts with Jewish Stars for Displaying ‘Hateful Imagery’).
Several Twitter users recently contacted Campaign Against Antisemitism reporting that their accounts had been locked, and Twitter provided the following rationale: “What happened? We have determined that this account violated the Twitter Rules. Specifically for: Violating our rules against posting hateful imagery. You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header. As a result, we have locked your account.”
Twitter appeared to have deemed the Star of David, a symbol of Judaism and Jewish pride, to be “hateful imagery”, and was locking the accounts of users who displayed it.
Now Twitter has claimed that the policy was directed only at “yellow stars.” Yet the Stars of David in the profile pictures of locked accounts that we saw also included artistic blue Stars of David and graffitied white Stars of David.
Twitter has claimed in its statement that “While the majority of cases were correctly actioned, some accounts highlighted recently were mistakes and have now been restored.”
We are pleased that Twitter has taken remedial action in this individual cases, however questions remain as to whether this was a genuine policy ineptly administered, or whether Twitter has provided an after-the-fact rationalization for why the accounts of Jewish users displaying their identities were locked.
In response to Twitter’s statement, Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Only one of the accounts locked featured a yellow star, and it very clearly did so as a means of reclaiming the yellow stars used by the Nazis. This is precisely the kind of inept response to antisemitism that we have come to expect from Twitter, which just last week tried to convince us that the viral antisemitic #JewishPrivilege hashtag was legitimate.
“We would happily help Twitter, but they largely ignore us when we approach them, which we take as a reflection of their inconsistency in addressing this. It seems that Twitter prefers to go after Jewish users who proudly display their identity but not after antisemitic users who unabashedly promote anti-Jewish vitriol.”
Others also observed the locking of accounts with Stars of David in their profile pictures.
Recently, Twitter refused to take action against the viral antisemitic hashtag #JewishPrivilege, and earlier this year the social media giant was forced to apologize for permitting advertisements to be micro-targeted at neo-Nazis and other bigots.
Campaign Against Antisemitism continues its robust engagement with social media companies over the content that they enable to be published, and we continue to make representations to the Government in this connection.