18:39 GMT03 August 2020
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    Twitter has been repeatedly accused in the past of failing to address anti-Semitic slurs on its platform, including the #JewishPrivilege hashtag that has been trending there for some time. Now, the company has come under renewed scrutiny in relation to the religious and national symbol.

    The Twitter team was forced to respond to a flow of complaints after a number of accounts displaying images of the Star of David were locked by the company for apparently posting “hateful imagery”.

    Campaign Against Antisemitism, a British non-governmental organisation, said this week that it had received a number of complaints from Twitter users who said that their accounts have been targeted as they received the following message from the company:

    "We have determined that this account violated the Twitter Rules. Specifically for: Violating our rules against posting hateful imagery. You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header. As a result, we have locked your account.”

    The images that have been deemed problematic included graphic drawings of the Star of David in various settings, including next to the fictional character Harley Quinn, as well as a version “spliced” with the yellow star associated with the armbands Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis.

    ​Users were reportedly advised to delete the images in question to get their accounts restored but the activists behind the campaign found Twitter’s actions outrageous.

    “It is deplorable enough that Twitter consistently fails to act against antisemitism on its platform, but now it is taking action against Jews for the simple crime of showing pride in their identity by displaying a Star of David. It never fails to astound just how low Twitter is prepared to go,” said Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism.

    As screenshots of messages received by the locked users were circulating online, many netizens moved to support them by changing their profile pics to various alternatives of the white-blue Hebrew symbol in order to address the platform’s “hateful imagery” policy, which many found problematic.

    Twitter's Public Policy team later explained that it had locked some of the accounts by mistake as it was trying to target those social media users who were promoting violence or threatening “people on the basis of categories such as religious affiliation, race and ethnic origin”.

    “We categorically do not consider the Star of David as a hateful symbol or hateful image. We have for some time seen the 'yellow star' or ‘yellow badge’ symbol being used by those seeking to target Jewish people,” the company wrote.

    “While the majority of cases were correctly actioned, some accounts highlighted recently were mistakes and have now been restored”, the team explained, while thanking Campaign Against Antisemitism for “bringing this to our attention”.

    The company has already found itself in hot water with anti-Semitism campaigners after it failed to address a viral #JewishPrivilege hashtag that was trending on Twitter, accompanied by various anti-Semitic slurs – the inaction that has been strongly condemned by activists from Campaign Against Antisemitism.

    Tags:
    anti-Semitism, Twitter, Star of David, Jews, Israel
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