Andrew Anglin, the infamous Daily Stormer website’s neo-Nazi founder, was approved by Elon Musk’s Twitter on Friday to rejoin the social media network after a nine-year ban. Several Twitter users stated that the social media site is asking them to follow him.
In recent days, the site’s new CEO has reinstated the accounts of prominent neo-Nazis, shared a photo of a white supremacist who claimed he wanted Trump to be more like Hitler, failed to stop people from sharing videos of the Christchurch shooting, used a well-known antisemitic trope, tweeted a famous alt-right meme, and, whether intentionally or not, shared a dog whistle that white supremacists misunderstood as support for Hitler.
Reinstating pro-Nazi extremist accounts raises concerns about Twitter’s “free speech” policy
Just after rapper Kanye West was banned from Twitter for tweeting a picture of a swastika (a symbol associated with Raëlism, a UFO religion) inside a Star of David, the social media network reactivated the account of avowed white supremacist and online writer Andrew Anglin, who had been banned from the platform for over a decade.
The decision to reinstate Anglin is a turning point in Twitter’s history, one that does not speak well for the company and raises many questions about how “free speech” will take over the platform in the future. People on Twitter are dumbfounded, perplexed, and wholly demoralized by all that has happened in the previous 24 hours.
Now that the neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin is back on Twitter, he wants someone to define the rules. Anglin wrote, “I don’t want trouble,” in one of his first tweets after returning to the social media platform. Anglin promised to “obey whatever the regulations are” and stated that he had “removed all the old stuff that was on this account” in a message to mark his comeback to Twitter. According to the ADL, he has also stated his desire to “normalize” the views of white nationalists like himself.
If I’m banned, it won’t be because of anything I said; it will be because I’m me.Andrew Anglin
Anglin has voiced his support for Kanye West, now known as Ye, with many tweets and a “YE24” in his bio since his reactivation, relating to the rap mogul’s stated plan to run for president in 2024. This happened the day after Ye went on a terrible tirade in which he declared his “passion” for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, asserting that the German leader “looks like a cool guy” and denying that Hitler commanded the killing of 6 million Jews and other people during the Holocaust.
What Could This Reinstatement Mean?
His return seems to be because of Elon Musk’s “general amnesty” proposal to individuals who have “not engaged in egregious spam or broken the law.” It should be added that Anglin is presently in hiding, trying to escape a court order of $14 million for running a harassment campaign targeting Jewish citizens in Montana. Anglin frequently exposed personal information online, including pictures of their young kid, and sent ominous threats.
This move will fuel more hate speech on the platform, which is already increasing since Musk’s takeover
Despite Musk’s promises, hate speech on Twitter has surged ever since his dramatic takeover. Antisemitic posts relating to Judaism and Jews increased by more than 61 percent in the two weeks following Musk’s acquisition, according to the New York Times, citing online hate trackers such as the Center for Countering Digital Hate and the Anti-Defamation League.
Beyond hate speech, The New York Times reported, citing the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a 69% surge in accounts connected to the terrorist organization ISIS in the first 12 days after Musk took over. Most Twitter staff have either been fired or left, and Musk needs to develop the promised content moderation team. Instead, when it comes to suspending accounts, he appears to be acting on a whim—and personal offense.
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