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Twitter suspends some accounts linked to alt-right

Richard Spencer, the white supremacist head of the National Policy Institute, removed from social media site

Richard Spencer, a white supremacist who runs a Washington think tank, the National Policy Institute. (Screenshot from YouTube via JTA)
Richard Spencer, a white supremacist who runs a Washington think tank, the National Policy Institute. (Screenshot from YouTube via JTA)

Twitter has suspended the accounts of several members of the alt-right, a loose movement of the far-right with some followers who traffic in white nationalism, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-Semitism and a disdain for “political correctness.”

A few of the accounts were associated with Richard Spencer, a white supremacist who runs a Washington think tank, the National Policy Institute, and the journal Radix, USA Today reported Wednesday. The social media platform suspended Spencer’s personal account, @RichardBSpencer, as well as those of the institute and journal. It also suspended the accounts of several other alt-right figures.

“The Twitter rules prohibit targeted abuse and harassment, and we will suspend accounts that violate this policy,” Twitter said in a statement, according to USA Today.

The alt-right gained prominence this year as many of its followers supported the campaign of President-elect Donald Trump. On Sunday, Trump appointed Stephen Bannon, the former chairman of the Breitbart News website, as his chief strategist — Bannon has called Breitbart “a platform for the alt-right.”

President-elect Donald Trump's appointment for senior counselor and chief White House strategist Steve Bannon looks on during a national security meeting with advisers at Trump Tower, October 7, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment for senior counselor and chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon looks on during a national security meeting with advisers at Trump Tower, October 7, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

According to an October report, an Anti-Defamation League task force tracking a “spike” in online harassment of journalists credited self-identified supporters of Trump with the lion’s share of the anti-Semitic tweets aimed at Jewish reporters and broadcasters. The report emphasized that the study did not imply that Trump’s campaign supported or endorsed the Twitter activity. The report noted that many of the tweets originated with a number of overlapping “communities” associated with the alt-right.

In July, Twitter suspended the account of Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart editor, for leading a campaign of online harassment against female actor Leslie Jones.

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