Despite its terms of service clearly stating that "violent threats (direct or indirect)" are prohibited, Twitter defended the heinous calls for sexual violence posted by rapper Azealia Banks against Sarah Palin. [Warning: explicit language below.]
This week a formal complaint was submitted to Twitter after Banks posted a series of tweets saying Palin should "have her hair shaved off to a buzz cut, get headfucked by a big, veiny, ashy black dick then be locked in a cupboard" and that people should "find the biggest burliest blackest negroes and let them run a train on her. Film it and put it on worldstar." Stunningly, Twitter concluded that Banks' statements were not in violation of its terms.
Breitbart News received a copy of the complaint and published it Thursday:
The high profile twitter user @AZEALIABANKS openly continues to advocate for rape, violent, brutal sexual & physical violence in ‘offensive, vulgar, abusive and obscene’ terms towards a targeted woman and her family in clear violation of Twitter’s strong stand against this sort of behavior,” the complaint reads. “This user continues to make ‘threats of violence’ and continues to ‘promote violence’ against a targeted [sic] individual and her family. This harassment by the user’s own public admission, was ‘unprovoked’ and is ‘is one-sided’ and ‘includes threats’ – direct, explicit and graphic. @AZEALIABANKS is ‘promoting violence’ advocating ‘direct attacks’ and ‘threats’ on the basis of ‘race’, ‘gender’ and ‘religious affiliation’. I am encouraged that you ‘do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories’ as for the past 72 hours this has been 90% of the of tweets coming from this @AZEALIABANKS. This user has openly tweeted the fact she selected to target this individual based on her opposition to the target’s beliefs. I am encouraged that your policy includes: ‘In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we do not tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.’ The resulting media coverage has created over 500,000 google results in a three day period already with seemingly no action from Twitter to what is a very high profile violation of your own stated Terms of Service. I look forward to your swift response, your swifter action and reaffirming for members of your community (of which I am one) that threats of sexual & racial violence against women will not stand on your platform.
As the complaint highlights, the language of Twitter's terms of service is clear enough:
"Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism."
"Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories."
Despite the clear violation of its terms, Twitter concluded that Banks' tweets were just fine.
"We reviewed the content and determined that it was not in violation of the Twitter Rules," read the response. "We are happy to revisit this decision if you are able to provide further evidence of a violation. Please respond to this email with direct links to the content in question. We understand you might come across content on Twitter that you find offensive. Twitter users are free to post content (even if potentially inflammatory) provided that they don’t violate the Terms of Service or the Twitter Rules."
After issuing a rebuke of Banks, Palin announced that she planned to sue her for the threats.
"I've had enough of the unanswered threats and attacks against my family and me," Palin said earlier this week. "So, for the first time I'm going to enjoy the only retribution some protected 'celebrities' seem to understand - I'm suing Azealia Banks and can't wait to share my winnings with others who have gone defenseless against lies and dangerous attacks far too long. Azealia engages in a form of racism and hate that is celebrated by some in the perverted arm of pop culture, but is condemned by those who know it's tearing our country apart. Others may keep turning a blind eye to problems like Azealia's mouth; I choose to take a stand against it and the double standards that result in her actually being rewarded for her divisive tactics and aggressively inciting violence."
The legal threat clearly got the attention of the performer, who responded with a condescending "apology".