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Over the weekend, following yet another synagogue shooting where the shooter allegedly penned an online Islamophobic manifesto, people took to Twitter to ask the platform’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, to end the hate. Or at least do the bare minimum to address it.
In the wake of yet another mass shooting by a white supremacist, let’s make the hashtag #JackStopTheHate trend. Maybe @Jack will finally set aside politics and autoban white supremacists and neo-Nazis on Twitter.— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) April 28, 2019
Under #JackStopTheHate, many shared their accounts—or the accounts of people they knew—of being maliciously harassed based on their religion, gender, or skin color. Meanwhile, they noted, white supremacists and white nationalists were protected on the site and their accounts were allowed to stay up.
I am tired of getting sexual assault threats. I am tired of getting death threats. I am tired of the hatred Natives, Black People, and other minorities get. I'm tired that politicians who espouse Nazi views are protected. #JackStopTheHate— Mari Ojibwe Writer-NAME-TRIBE-JOB (@Polychromantium) April 28, 2019
Dear Jack,— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) April 28, 2019
I'm tired of being told references to raping journalists are not a vio.
I am tired of being called a baby killer and worse.
I'm tired of seeing the hate aimed at Jewish, Muslim and POC.
This isn't hard: Ban Nazis, or you become one.#JackStopTheHate
In the wake of another mass shooting predicated on the principals of white nationalism, @jack it’s time to ban the hate speech and the haters. People are dying. What are you going to do about it? #JackStopTheHate https://t.co/qqyhhzkp9t— Laura Tenneson (@LauraTenneson) April 28, 2019
Some pointed out the likely obvious reason Dorsey won’t suspend white supremacists and nationalists: They bring more views to the platform, and in turn, more money.
The bottom line is that @Jack will turn a blind eye to hate because he doesn't want to take a hit on his profits when the @Potus gets angry because those same haters are part of Trump's loyal following. #JackStopTheHate . so I wouldn't hold your breath for any real action.— Galileo (@Galileo242) April 28, 2019
Since Dorsey won’t budge, some tried to urge Twitter employees to force his hand.
Twitter employees, take some fucking agency. You can do what @jack refuses to do. You can put down the tools. You can make a stand. Every day that you go to work and use your labor towards his agenda you’re becoming who he is. #JackStopTheHate— Mike Monteiro (@monteiro) April 28, 2019
Honest question for @twitter employees: What do you think will happen if you all put down the tools and walk out? Do you think they’ll fire you? They cannot replace that many people. Take a stand. Because until you do, you’re as complicit as @jack. #JackStopTheHate— Mike Monteiro (@monteiro) April 28, 2019
With many people having been blocked or bullied by President Donald Trump—or having had hate messages directed to them because of his rhetoric—the hashtag quickly spiraled into asking Dorsey to do something about the president specifically.
As one deranged man warns his supporters about a national emergency at the Southern border, he ignores the national emergency that exists within that border.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) April 28, 2019
White supremacists are a threat to Muslims, to Jews, to every peaceful American.
Trump must go.#JackStopTheHate
#JackStopTheHate. If doing so sweeps up Republican politicians, even Trump, so be it. That's on them and they'll whine about the liberal media no matter what you do. Time to stop making excuses for white supremacists.— Anti-Masculinity Liberal (@weirwoodtreehug) April 28, 2019
On Sunday afternoon, the Women’s March also asked Dorsey to suspend President Trump’s Twitter account, and has even started a petition.
We’re #ReclaimingOurTimeline and we’re starting with the White Nationalist in Chief: @realDonaldTrump. Add your name here to call on @jack to suspend Trump’s account: https://t.co/6UmSsmtt4m https://t.co/JvJwPYdNtn— Women's March (@womensmarch) April 28, 2019
The petition, which calls for President Trump’s account suspension in light of his recent remarks about Rep. Ilhan Omar that led to a slew of threats against her and her family, had nearly 35,000 signatures as of Monday morning.
“This is as dangerous as it is unprecedented,” the petition reads. “Representative Omar is receiving countless death threats as the president of the United States is inciting violence against a Black Muslim sitting member of Congress, putting her life at risk.”
It was not immediately clear if the petition was started in light of the #JackStopTheHate hashtag or had been there since earlier in the month when the president’s messaging spiraled into a series of online attacks against the congresswoman (the Women’s March did not immediately return the Daily Dot’s request for comment). But last week, Dorsey personally called Omar to tell her the president’s attack tweet did not violate any rules, even though the video in it was spliced without proper context and incited so much hatred online that the congresswoman reported an increase in threats against her.
When asked for comment, Twitter reiterated its policies against hateful conduct and inciting violence based on users’ identity but did not specifically address questions about the hashtag calling out Dorsey. Dorsey has historically defended his reasoning to let white supremacists stay on the platform with a vague argument about free speech, but experts argue that this “free speech,” when used as hate speech, silences those who need it the most—marginalized communities.
- Living with the constant threat of death as a Black American
- White feminism is fertile ground for white nationalism
- We need to change the way we talk about police killing Black people
Updated 11:30am CT, April 29, to include comment from Twitter.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque