Twitter’s inappropriate response to New York Times editor Jon Weisman, who had been facing the problem of anti-Semitic tweets on the network, has caused the editor quit the social media platform. In a tweet on Wednesday, Weisman said he will move “to Facebook where at least people need to use their real names and can’t hide behind fakery to spread their hate.”
Twitter takes a u-turn
Weisman is the deputy editor of the Times‘ Washington bureau and a published novelist with more than 34,000 followers with a coveted blue check verified mark to his account. However, this prominence proved costly to Weisman, who is Jewish, as he became a frequent target of anti-Semitic trolls.
One of the Times’ social media gurus forwarded a compendium of some of those tweets to Twitter on Monday, he said. Weisman was referred to as a “kike” in one of them, while another threatened to have him put “in the oven.”
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In response, Twitter said the tweets didn’t violate any of its rules, and hence, it wouldn’t suspend the users who posted them, said Weisman. However, Twitter appeared to change course by late Wednesday as it suspended two accounts that Weisman linked to earlier.
A few accounts deactivated, but not all
A Twitter spokesman declined to comment on the matter when CNN Money probed and only said that for privacy and security reasons, the company does not comment on individual accounts. Weisman says that the company heard all his complaints clearly, but it remained a mystery why some users got axed while others didn’t.
In an email to CNN Money, Weisman said, “I started getting notifications from Twitter that accounts are being suspended as soon as I said I was quitting Twitter, so yes, somebody is listening. Not all the accounts that I reported, however, are being blocked. I really don’t understand what is deemed acceptable and what is over the line.”
Last month, Weisman wrote about the abuse he received on Twitter. Other Jewish journalists on the network have received similar treatment. For example, Julia Ioffe, a Jewish reporter, wrote a profile for GQ magazine about Melania Trump, Donald trump’s wife, after which she was bashed with obscene tweets this spring.
Most of the anti-Semitic tweets that seek to target Weisman and Ioffe have their last named bracketed with parentheses, a technique new-Nazis and white nationalists employ to identify Jewish individuals. This technique, referred to as “echo,” allows such tweets to go undetected because users are unable to search Twitter for parentheses.