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Twitter Dropped SPLC As ‘Safety Partner’ Amid Scandal, Other Tech Giants Have Not

As the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) grapples with internal allegations of sexism and racism, Twitter appears to have removed them from its Trust and Safety Council.

“The SPLC is not a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council or a partner the company has worked with recently,” a Twitter employee told the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF).

In June 2018, the DCNF reported that Twitter had listed the SPLC as a “safety partner,” which worked to oppose “hateful conduct and harassment.”

The webpage that used to list the SPLC as a member of the Trust and Safety Council no longer does so. Twitter appears to have made no announcement about the change.

The SPLC’s troubles began one month ago when the organization’s then-president announced Morris Dees, one of the center’s founders, was being fired for unspecified reasons. Shortly after Dees was fired, we learned that employees had begun expressing dismay toward the center’s white leadership for alleged sexism and racism. Young female employees were allegedly harassed by Dees. Employees of color were allegedly denied the ability to move up in the organization, which bills itself as a fighter of hate and racism.

SPLC President Richard Cohen would resign a week after Dees’ firing, as would several other employees. A former staffer for Michelle Obama was hired to investigate the internal allegations.

As the allegations mounted, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig questioning the organization’s tax-exempt status and saying the group “fundraises off of defamation.”

“This business model has paid well. The SPLC has accrued more than $500 million in assets,” Cotton wrote. “According to the group's most recent financial statement, it holds $121 million offshore in non-U.S. equity funds. The SPLC uses these assets to pay its executives lavish salaries far higher than the comparable household average.”

Other tech giants, such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon — who have also entrusted the SPLC with combatting hate — have said nothing regarding the status of the organization amid the scandal.

None of these organizations responded to DCNF inquiries regarding the status of their involvement with the SPLC since the scandal. Facebook still apparently considers the SPLC one of its “external experts and organizations” that the company works with “to inform our hate speech policies.” Amazon apparently still allows the SPLC to determine whether an organization can be part of the Amazon Smile charitable program. Google still apparently allows the center to police YouTube content.

Though media outlets and tech giants insist the SPLC is “anti-hate,” it has actually sowed hate and division. It places organizations and people with traditional conservative thoughts on its “hate lists.” In 2012, the SPLC’s list was cited as the reason an armed shooter attempted a mass murder at the Family Research Council.

 
 
 

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