Twitter has suspended the account of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke for “repeated violations of the Twitter Rules on hateful conduct,” a spokesperson confirmed to The Verge on Friday. “This enforcement action is in line with our recently-updated guidance on harmful links.”
Duke joined Twitter in September 2009, an archived version of his page shows, and his account had more than 53,000 followers.
YouTube suspended several white supremacists’ channels last month, including Duke’s, for violating its hate speech policies. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which describes Duke as a neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier, says Duke “built an international reputation as the American face of white nationalism and pseudo-academic anti-Semitism.” The Anti-Defamation League says Duke has been active in the white supremacy movement for decades.
Duke was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1989 after attempting to rebrand himself as a born-again Christian. He served one term and later mounted unsuccessful campaigns for US Senate and Louisiana governor. His criminal history includes serving 15 months in federal prison in 2002 for felony mail and tax fraud charges.
Why Twitter has been slow to ban white nationalists
Twitter’s Hateful Conduct Policy prohibits the promotion of violence against — or threats of attack toward — people on the basis of certain categories such as religious affiliation, race, and ethnic origin. The company says it’s taking action in line with its recently updated policy on URLs and blocking links.
After coming under intense criticism, Twitter has zeroed in on hate speech and “hateful conduct” over the past several months, suspending UK commentator Katie Hopkins in January, banning 7,000 QAnon-related accounts last week, and labeling several incendiary tweets by President Trump with fact-check labels.