September 1, 2016. White nationalists use Twitter with ‘relative impunity’: report. Article by reporter Dustin Volz. According to a study by researchers at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, white nationalist extremist groups in the U.S., including the American Nazi Party, are gaining growing influence on Twitter, while Islamic State or ISIS’s influence on the platform is declining. The latter is due at least in part to Twitter’s “aggressive campaign to suspend Islamic State users – the company said in an August blog post it had shut down 360,000 accounts for threatening or promoting what it defined as terrorist acts since the middle of 2015.”
Volz reported: “Asked about the study, a Twitter spokesman referred to the company’s terms of service, which prohibit promoting terrorism, threatening abuse and ‘hateful conduct’ such as attacking or threatening a person on the basis of race or ethnicity.” One of the researchers noted “greater free speech complications” with shutting down the white nationalist groups, but this is difficult to understand in light of the fact that users of Twitter cannot rely on the First Amendment. Twitter is not a “state actor,” and it is therefore not required to offer its users the full panoply of “free speech” rights guaranteed under the Amendment.