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Geert Wilders claims to be latest victim of social media bias as Twitter blocks his account

Geert Wilders claims to be latest victim of social media bias as Twitter blocks his account
Right-wing Dutch MP Geert Wilders has slammed Twitter for its alleged anti-conservative bias after his page got briefly blocked. The ban comes as the social media giants face accusations of silencing voices on the right.

Twitter’s decision to temporarily suspend Wilders’ account has drawn the ire of the Dutch politician, who accused the platform of displaying a clear bias against him while tolerating almost anything his opponents do on the social media.

Twitter often tolerates death threats against me, but not a factual tweet by me about a colleague. Madness!

Wilders, who is known for his staunch anti-Islamist stance and relentless criticism of religion in general, has a sizeable audience on Twitter with the number of his followers amounting to some 811,000, making him one of the most popular Dutch politicians on social media, second only to Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

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The tweet in question, which led to the blocking of the politician’s page, in fact contained criticism aimed at his political opponents – the center-left D-66 party, which Wilders denounced as “suckers ...who import ever more Islam and then weep crocodile tears over the consequences, such as honor killings.”

The Twitter administrators blocked Wilders’ page over violating one of its rules, which specifically prohibit promoting violence or issuing threats against any group “on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender … or religious affiliation.” A spokesman for Wilders’ Freedom Party posted a screenshot of his blocked account and the administration’s statement.

Wilders’ account was soon back online, however.

Wilders is far from being alone in suspecting that the social media giants are treating its right-wing audience unfairly. Both Facebook and Twitter have been facing a barrage of accusations over its alleged bias against the conservatives for quite some time, with US politicians leading the charge.

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In mid-March, Republican congressman Devin Nunes said he would file a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter over its alleged “explicit censorship” of conservatives. He accused the social network of “shadow-banning” right-leaning users, while refusing to take action against “abusive, hateful and defamatory” content from left-leaning users.

President Donald Trump then lashed out at Facebook after it briefly gagged his social media chief. Trump, an avid twitterer, also squarely accused Facebook, Google and Twitter too of being “on the side of the Radical Left Democrats.”

Facebook’s and Instagram’s recent decisions to ban right-leaning social media accounts also sparked a heated debate as the conservatives immediately accused them of “Orwellian” censorship, while the leftists demanded more bans.

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