by WorldTribune Staff, April 17, 2019
Twitter is the first of the Silicon Valley tech giants to part ways with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has been accused of workplace mistreatment of women and people of color and scamming liberal donors out of money.
“The SPLC is not a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council or a partner the company has worked with recently,” a source within Twitter told The Daily Caller on the condition of anonymity.
SPLC has long been controversial for its history of labeling mainstream Christian and/or conservative organizations – including Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, the Ruth Institute, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and Jihad Watch – “hate groups” to be blacklisted from various online platforms and services. The organization has managed to pressure companies like Mastercard and GoFundMe to (at least temporarily, in some cases) deny services to conservative figures and groups.
Previously, Twitter had listed the SPLC as a “safety partner” working to combat “hateful conduct and harassment,” the Daily Caller reported in June 2018.
Related: Alabama daily documented problems at Southern Poverty Law Center 25 years ago, April 9, 2019
While Twitter says it has severed ties with the SPLC, Facebook, Google and Amazon continue to work with or consult with the SPLC in policing “hate speech” on their platforms.
The SPLC is on a list of “external experts and organizations” that Facebook works with “to inform our hate speech policies,” Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja told the Daily Caller in June 2018. The company consults with outside organizations when developing changes to hate speech policies, he said at the time.[The SPLC accused Facebook in a May 2018 article of not doing enough to censor anti-Muslim hatred. That article did not disclose the SPLC’s working partnership with Facebook.]
Budhraja declined to name all the outside groups working with Facebook, but confirmed the SPLC’s participation.
Amazon granted the SPLC broad policing power over the Amazon Smile charitable program, the Daily Caller noted. “We remove organizations that the SPLC deems as ineligible,” an Amazon spokeswoman told the Daily Caller in 2018. Amazon grants the SPLC that power “because we don’t want to be biased whatsoever,” the spokeswoman said at the time.
Google was criticized in 2018 for using the SPLC to assist YouTube in policing content on its platform. The SPLC is one of the more than 100 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and government agencies in YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers” program, the Daily Caller reported in June 2018.
Media outlets often rely on the SPLC to craft stories.
CNN published the SPLC’s list of 900 hate groups in 2017 under the headline “Here Are All the Hate Groups Active in Your Area,” then was forced to modify the story after conservatives complained that it effectively conflated conservatives with neo-Nazis. CNN maintains that the SPLC is one of the only groups that monitors hates groups.
The SPLC fired co-founder Morris Dees on March 13 over “inappropriate conduct.”