Twitter is very keen on promoting “healthy conversation” and removing “dehumanizing language.” The exception to the rule? Louis Farrakhan.
In a video tweeted by Farrakhan, the minister compared Jewish people to “termites.” Gripping the pulpit, he also called them “stupid.” This video was later tweeted by the official Nation of Islam account which Farrakhan leads. Ordinarily, this kind of behavior would get someone suspended or banned from Twitter, because of its hate speech policies. But not so with Farrakhan.
BuzzFeed journalist Joe Bernstein tweeted a response from Twitter over Farrakhan: “Just in from a Twitter spokesperson: Louis Farrakhan’s tweet comparing Jews to termites is not in violation of the company’s policies. The policy on dehumanizing language has not yet been implemented.”
Anti-Semitic language shouldn’t just be against dehumanizing language, though. Twitter stated in its “Hateful Conduct Policy” that “you may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis on race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.”
In addition, “repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone” is banned.
Even presidential daughter Chelsea Clinton tweeted that Farrakhan’s words on Twitter, saying, “Comparing Jews to termites is anti-Semitic, wrong and dangerous. The responsive laughter makes my skin crawl.”
Twitter is eager to ban or suspend people at the drop of a pin when it comes to memes that may “influence the election,” or calling Chelsea/Bradley Manning a “traitor,” or showing disrespect to a CNN anchor. But when it comes to anti-Semitism, Twitter doesn’t seem to care.