(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Pro-Trump Sheriff David Clarke's Twitter account just got locked

It's another sign that Twitter is taking hate speech very seriously



Matthew Rozsa
January 3, 2018 4:40PM (UTC)

Twitter is taking steps to curb hate speech. And after removing the vaunted prominence of the "verified" blue check mark for "alt-right" users, the social media platform is going after a notable social media user:  Trump supporter David Clarke.

On Tuesday, the controversial Milwaukee former sheriff had his account frozen by Twitter after he posted content which was considered hateful, according to CNN.

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In one of the tweets, Clarke proclaimed, "When LYING LIB MEDIA makes up FAKE NEWS to smear me, the ANTIDOTE is to go right at them. Punch them in the nose & MAKE THEM TASTE THEIR OWN BLOOD. Nothing gets a bully like LYING LIB MEDIA"S attention better than to give them a taste of their own blood #neverbackdown." The tweet included a graphic that made it look like Clarke and President Donald Trump were wrestlers beating up another wrestler made to look like CNN.

 

Clarke's account was placed in read-only mode until that tweet, and two others that were perceived as encouraging violence, were taken down. There are other violent tweets on Clarke's account, however, that remain up.

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Part of the reason Twitter is being proactive is that a new law in Germany is holding social media platforms accountable for the hate speech that they allow to remain on their websites.

The new law, known as the Network Enforcement Act, which was passed in June and will start being enforced this month, requires that social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google (which owns YouTube) investigate and remove hateful content within 24 hours after they have been flagged by a user for review, according to CNBC. Companies will have one week to review content which is considered more ambiguous in terms of its hatefulness.

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If the companies do not comply with the new law, they could be fined up to $60 million. Similar restrictions will apply to companies that fail to remove content which is defamatory or encourages violence.

Facebook, Twitter and Google have all agreed to comply with the new German law.

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Still, Twitter is allowing the president to tweet hate speech and threaten violence against North Korea, which seems to violate the website's terms of service.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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