Twitter banned several white supremacist groups and two far-right UK politicians from the platform on Monday as the company’s new anti-abuse rules went into effect.
The suspended accounts include the leaders of Britain First, one of whom posted an anti-Muslim video on Twitter that President Donald Trump retweeted last month.
The Twitter accounts for the American Nazi Party, League of the South and the white supremacist publication American Renaissance were also among those shut down.
The company’s new anti-abuse rules state that Twitter will permanently ban any groups from the platform who promote violence —either online or offline.
The rules also prohibit tweets that glorify or perpetrate violence. Repeated violations will result in a permanent suspension of the account.
“We’re making these changes to create a safer environment for everyone,” the company said in a blog post.
The new rules add: “If you attempt to evade a permanent suspension by creating new accounts, we will suspend your new accounts.”
Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First who was banned on Monday, saw this happen. After her original account was suspended, she attempted to start a new one, which Twitter promptly shut down.
Since Oct., the social media network has been preparing the rule revamp, which is designed to crack down on both hate speech and sexual harassment. As a result, Twitter is now banning hateful images and symbols from profile images and headers. It will also shut down accounts with profiles that feature racist or sexist tropes.
But even as the new rules promise to prevent abuse, they might stir up more controversy for Twitter, which has tried to find a balance between free speech and censorship.
Some Twitter users are demanding the company shut down President Donald Trump’s account for his controversial tweets. Others have accused Twitter of cracking down on conservative political voices, but not liberal ones.