Monday, March 05, 2018

Canary Mission: Does Twitter have an anti-Semitism problem?

Does Twitter have an anti-Semitism problem?
WATCH: Does Twitter Have An Anti-Semitism Problem?
Anti-Semitism Watchdog, Canary Mission has been locked out of its Twitter account - just 4 days after Twitter apologized and rescinded its suspension. What is going on? Read on...

Original Suspension
On Feb 24, Twitter suspended the Canary Mission Twitter account, without reason. An appeal was lodged on the afternoon of Feb 25th and the Canary Mission team was informed on Feb 27 at exactly 3:28am EST that the appeal had failed. It had broken the rules related to ìhateful conductî and its suspension was now permanent!
Later that same day, at 8:06pm, after a media and Twitter outcry, the account was reinstated.

Account Subsequently Locked
However, on Mar 3rd, just four days after the suspension was lifted, the Canary Mission account was locked! It is still viewable but Twitter has prevented Canary Mission from accessing its account - unless it deletes a tweet that Twitter claims has violated its rules. Could this be the same tweet that caused the initial suspension? If so, the case has just become even more disturbing...perhaps bizarre.

The ìOffendingî Tweet
In February 2017, Canary Mission profiled University of Arlington student, Ahmed Ellahi, exposing a host of grossly anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets.

One of Ellahiís anti-Semitic tweets from May 24, 2012,  was a mock cover of Adeleís album ì21.î The singerís face was replaced with Adolf Hitler and the cover title changed to ìAdelef Hitler.î Ellahi added ìSet Fire to the Jews,î mocking the track, ìSet Fire to the Rain.î

On May 4, 2017, the Canary Mission Twitter account tweeted the following:

ì@utarlingtonís Ahmed Ellahi @dallasmau5 modified Adeleís lyrics to say ìSet Fire to the Jews.î

On March 3rd, 2018, Twitter locked the Canary Mission account citing, bizarrely, our exposure of Ellahiís anti-Semitic tweet.

There are some highly problematic aspects to Twitterís censure of Canary Missionís tweet:

1. The Original Tweet was Never Censured
Mr. Ellahi himself was never censured by Twitter for his anti-Semitic tweet. The horrific tweet remained live on Ellahiís Twitter account until Canary Mission highlighted it to a larger audience (after which he deleted it himself).

2. Exposing Anti-Semitism
How is it possible that exposure of gross anti-Semitism can break a Twitter rule? What rule could Twitter possibly have against fighting bigotry? Given that the original deeply offensive tweet stood for 5 years, it is even harder to understand.

3. Suspicious Timing
It is odd that a 10 month old ìoffendingî tweet is suddenly brought against Canary Mission, just 4 days after our account was reinstated with a message from Twitter that we had not violated any rules.

From the outside, it appears to be a crass attempt at maintaining a degree of censorship over the Canary Mission account.

The Canary Mission Response
We could have done the simple thing. We could have just deleted the tweet and no one would have known that our account was locked - it would still be working as normal.

However, this incident is part of a bigger issue that is too important for us to remain silent. If we let this go, then Twitter will be worse for it. That is why on Mar 4, 2018, we appealed instead of deleting the tweet. So far, we have not heard back from Twitter.

Twitter seems to have a ìJewishî problem and it needs to deal with it. It suspended, then locked a respected anti-Semitism watchdog, but at the same time it continues to allow white supremacist David Duke to tweet freely, terrorist organization Hamas to push violent propaganda and radical preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi to promote videos that call for the killing of Jews. When Hatem Bazian, founder of campus hate group SJP, retweeted an outrageous anti-Semitic meme, his account remained open, and his brand of anti-Semitism was given a voice online.

Anti-Semitic hate is growing on North American campuses. Canary Mission is needed more than ever and Twitter must to give it the room to continue its invaluable service to North American students.

Growing in the Face of Adversity
In the wake of Canary Missionís suspension and reinstatement, the watchdog actually grew stronger. Canary Missionís Twitter account gained almost 800 new followers, it opened up two new Twitter accounts - Canary Mission Canada and Canary Mission Professors and it increased the size of its mailing list.

If you want to continue to receive updates, follow all three Canary Mission accounts and Subscribe to the Canary Mission mailing list - Twitter canít suspend or take that away!

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