SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A prominent white nationalist is suing Twitter for banning his accounts at a time when social networks are trying to crack down on hateful and abusive content without appearing to censor unpopular opinions.
Jared Taylor filed the lawsuit Tuesday in state court in San Francisco, marking the latest legal challenge filed by right-wing groups and figures banned from social media sites.
Taylor is the founder of the Virginia-based New Century Foundation, an IRS-classified charity that operates the American Renaissance online magazine. The magazine touts a philosophy that it’s “entirely normal” for whites to want to be a majority race.
Twitter suspended the accounts of well-known white nationalists in December, saying it was enforcing new rules aimed at reducing abusive content. Social media sites are under increasing public pressure to quickly flag and ban abusive, hateful and bullying posts by some of their billions of users.
Twitter’s new policy addresses hateful images or symbols, including those attached to user profiles. The company said its monitors now view hateful imagery in the same way as graphic violence and adult content, which have been banned since the company’s inception.
Taylor said Twitter informed him via email on Dec. 18 that it was suspending his account and one in the magazine’s name, alleging they violated the company’s user agreement barring affiliations with “a violent extremist group.” Twitter didn’t name the extremist group, Taylor said.
Taylor denies that he and his organization advocate violence or associate with groups that do. His lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and the restoration of Taylor’s accounts.
Twitter declined to comment on his lawsuit and accounts.
Similar challenges have been filed in California. Conservative activist Charles Johnson has a lawsuit against Twitter pending in a Fresno court after he was banned in 2015. The nonprofit Prager University is suing Google in Los Angeles federal court, alleging YouTube wrongfully censored some of its politically conservative content.