NEWS
18/12/2017 15:12 GMT | Updated 18/12/2017 17:25 GMT

Britain First's Jayda Fransen And Paul Golding Suspended From Twitter Amid Crackdown On 'Hateful Conduct'

Donald Trump re-tweeted far-right group's anti-Muslim videos.

Britain First’s Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding have been suspended from Twitter as it begins a crackdown on “hateful conduct”.

The far-right group which gained prominence last month after US President Donald Trump re-tweeted three unverified, anti-Muslim videos posted by Fransen.

It caused an international fallout between the UK and the US, with Theresa May saying Trump was “wrong” to have supported Britain First’s attempts to “divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tension”. 

Their removal from the site means Trump’s re-tweets of Fransen have disappeared from his timeline. Britain First’s official Twitter page has also been taken down.

Their Twitter accounts suggest they have both been suspended since they “violate the Twitter rules”.

Twitter

The social media giant said:

“Today, we are starting to enforce updates to the Twitter Rules and media policy to reduce hateful conduct and abusive behavior.”

Twitter was not disclosing which specific accounts had been suspended, nor a total. 

The new guidelines were revealed in November and cover abuse, hateful conduct as well as violence and physical harm.

Last month the site paused its verification process, as well as removing verified ‘blue tick’ badges from right wing figures, including former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson.

It’s unclear how long the suspensions will last. In its guidance, Twitter refers to the prospect of “permanent suspension”. 

Suspensions were also taking place across the US.

One of the new rules introduced today makes clear “content that glorifies violence or the perpetrators of a violent act” will be prohibited.

It goes on: “This includes celebrating any violent act in a manner that may inspire others to replicate it or any violence where people were targeted because of their membership in a protected group.

“We will require offending Tweets to be removed and repeated violations will result in permanent suspension.”

Britain First is a fringe group built around publicity stunts and social media and claims that Islam is an irredeemable threat to Europe.

Deputy leader Fransen, 31, was convicted of religiously aggravated assault for shouting at a woman in a hijab last year.

When Sadiq Khan became the first Muslim elected mayor of a major Western city last year, Golding, the Britain First candidate and the party’s leader, turned his back in protest.

It has carried out so-called “Christian Patrols” in areas with large Muslim populations, during which its members have scuffled with locals, often while repeating the myth that British cities have “no-go zones”.

A spokesperson for the anti-fascism campaign group Hope Not Hate said: “We welcome this long-belated recognition by Twitter that groups like Britain First, and Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding, have been using the cover of ‘free speech’ to promote hatred and division.

“These individuals have sought to sow discord and conflict wherever they have gone, attempting to portray themselves as some sort of latter-day Crusaders and sharing distorted anti-Muslim memes and seeking to exploit communal tensions.

“Thankfully, despite the intervention of those like Trump, most people can see the falsity that lies behind this hatred: unlike its social media reach, Britain First struggles to muster barely a few dozen people onto the streets.

“These new rules should put all on notice that they need to be wary of what they do, or say, on public platforms and that hate speech should not be tolerated under the guise of free speech.”

Iman Atta, director of Tell MAMA, which campaigns against Islamaphobia, said: “We are pleased to see that Jayda has had her account suspended.

“She should also have her ‘blue tick’ removed, given the highly inflammatory nature of her videos and comments.

“The latest video in Northern Ireland where she suggests that the future of English towns will have dividing walls like Northern Ireland is not only ludicrous, it inflames tensions and plays on the basal fears of some.

“We are glad that she is offline and that for a few hours or days, the world can have less hate within it.”