Twitter unlocks frozen accounts featuring Stars of David, clarifies ‘hateful conduct’ policy

Following complaints that Twitter locked the accounts of some Jewish users in the U.K. who displayed images of the Star of David, the social media company sought to explain its procedures for determining hateful conduct. 

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Twitter clarified, “We categorically do not consider the Star of David as a hateful symbol or hateful image. We have for some time seen the ‘yellow star’ or ‘yellow badge’ symbol being used by those seeking to target Jewish people. This is a violation of the Twitter Rules, and our Hateful Conduct Policy prohibits the promotion of violence against — or threats of attack towards — people on the basis of categories such as religious affiliation, race and ethnic origin.”

“While the majority of cases were correctly actioned, some accounts highlighted recently were mistakes and have now been restored.”

In the statement, Twitter thanked the U.K.-based organizations Campaign Against Antisemitism and Community Security Trust, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, for “bringing this to our attention and for their partnership in tackling antisemitism.”

In a statement to Jewish Insider, Stephen Silverman, Campaign Against Antisemitism’s director of investigations and enforcement, said, “Only one of the accounts locked featured a yellow star, and it very clearly did so as a means of reclaiming the yellow stars used by the Nazis. This is precisely the kind of inept response to antisemitism that we have come to expect from Twitter, which just last week tried to convince us that the viral antisemitic #JewishPrivilege hashtag was legitimate.”

Users reported their accounts were locked by Twitter for depicting the Star of David.

Silverman continued, “We would happily help Twitter, but they largely ignore us when we approach them, which we take as a reflection of their inconsistency in addressing this,” Silverman continued. “It seems that Twitter prefers to go after Jewish users who proudly display their identity but not after antisemitic users who unabashedly promote anti-Jewish vitriol.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt welcomed Twitter’s response, praising the social media platform in a tweet. “Good to see Twitter clarifying the difference between images used to harass and when used to express identity and empathy. The Star of David is an ancient symbol that represents all Jews and our solidarity,” he tweeted.

“Upon learning of the situation, ADL reached out to Twitter and worked with the company to help them get it right. Notable that they moved swiftly to correct this problem,” Greenblatt wrote, adding, “Kudos to Twitter for doing this here and elsewhere recently.”

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.