Twitter has suspended multiple prominent accounts associated with the alt-right movement, a loosely organised group that espouses far-right ideologies including white nationalism. The move follows the social media network's announcement curbing abuse and hate speech on its platform through new features and policies.
Some of the accounts suspended by the social media giant include the verified account of Richard Spencer, president and director of the Virginia-based National Policy Institute which describes itself as an "organisation dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world". The Twitter accounts of the institute as well as his online magazine, RadixJournal.com have been suspended.
"I am alive physically but digitally speaking there has been execution squads across the alt-right," Spencer said in a YouTube video titled, Knight of the Long Knives in response to the suspension. "It is corporate Stalinism. There is a great purge going on, and they are purging people based on their views."
Spencer also said that the recent suspensions were unlike that of Milo Yiannopoulous, the tech editor of extreme right-wing American news website Breitbart News who was recently banned from Twitter over accusations that he incited his followers to target Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones with hateful tweets.
"I supported people like Milo when they were banned from Twitter, but Milo was engaging in something that could be called harassment," Spencer said. "I and a number of other people who just got banned were not even trolling. I was using Twitter just like I always used Twitter: to give people some updates and maybe comment on a news story here and there."
Spencer argues that he believes the move is a "coordinated effort to just wipe out alt-right Twitter" in response to criticism that social media helped Donald Trump win the presidential election.
"Twitter and probably Facebook too... I think they are deeply triggered by Trump's election," Spencer said. "I think they're triggered by this narrative that social media helped elect Trump and they think that they have to do something about it. Well, the fact is social media did help elect Trump."
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines the alt-right as a "set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that 'white identity' is under attack by multicultural forces including 'political correctness' and 'social justice' to undermine white people and 'their' civilization." The organisation has previously asked Twitter to ban over 100 white supremacists' accounts that violated the platform's terms of service.
Other accounts that have been suspended include that of Pax Dickinson, Paul Town, Ricky Vaughn and John Rivers, USA Today reports.
"The Twitter rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies," Twitter said in a statement, the publication reported.
The high-profile suspensions came the same day that Twitter announced that it would upgrade some of its features in an effort to combat cyberbullying and online harassment on its platform.
It also comes on the heels of Trump's decision to name former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon as his chief White House strategist - a move that has been praised by white nationalist leaders.
However, Spencer argued that the latest series of suspensions could be seen as a win for the alt-right movement.
"This is a clear sign that we have power," Spencer said. "Even if it's in our own little small way... we have power, and we're changing the world and they're not going to put up with it anymore."