Twitter urged to remove Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen's verified status

Deputy Leader Jayda Fransen at a Britain First Rally in London (Rex features)

Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary has said that social media platforms including Twitter need to stop ‘signalling approval’ for content that incites violence.

Diane Abbott’s comments came after Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, was propelled into the spotlight yesterday after Donald Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos from her Twitter account.

The far-right activist has a timeline littered with unverified videos claiming to show the actions of Muslims, alongside anti-Islamic slogans.

Her Twitter account, along with that of Britain First’s leader Paul Golding, is verified.

Ms Abbott told Yahoo News UK: ‘There should be no signal of approval for anyone engaged in hate speech, and certainly not for anyone convicted of hate crime.

Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott (Reuters/Peter Nicholls)

‘Twitter and other social media platforms also have wider responsibilities to prevent any content from being used to incite violence.

‘The Government should have already tackled inaction by these social media giants. If they don’t, Labour will.’

A spokesperson for anti-racism charity HOPE not hate also urged the platform to rethink Ms Fransen’s verification.

They said: ‘Twitter has been removing verified status from a number of far-right associated accounts and with her legal woes and her party’s reputation for causing mayhem and trouble wherever it goes, and sharing fake news and hate material, surely Twitter must think strongly about Jayda Fransen’s account too.

‘The fact that Donald Trump has thrown oil onto the fire only heightens the problem here.’

Donald Trump’s retweets caused an international storm (Reuters)

A spokesperson from charity Muslim Advocates urged Twitter to remove Jayda Fransen’s account altogether.

In an open letter to Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey, Madihha Ahussain, special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry, said: ‘Today, President Donald Trump retweeted a series of tweets generated by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, a notorious anti-Muslim group in the United Kingdom.

‘The tweets consist of unverified, misleading, and potentially false, anti-Muslim videos used by Ms. Fransen and Britain First to perpetuate and fuel hatred and fear of Muslims around the world using your platform.

‘We urge you to remove these accounts from your platform, as they exist for the sole purpose of vilifying an entire religion and inciting bigotry and violence against Muslims.

‘The content on each of these accounts, Ms. Fransen’s and Britain First’s, are clearly in violation of your hateful conduct policies, which state that Twitter does not tolerate “behavior that incites fear about a protected group.”

‘By removing these accounts, and thereby the hateful content they contain, others will no longer be able to view, share, or retweet the content.’

On 15 November Twitter announced an update to its verification process, announcing that blue ticks could be revoked for accounts seen to be ‘promoting hate and/or violence’ or ‘inciting or engaging in harassment of others’.

The social network said: ‘Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement.

‘We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception.

‘We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have.

‘This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse.’

A number of prominent far-right figures, including EDL founder Tommy Robinson, had their blue ticks removed.


Twitter declined to comment on why Ms Fransen and Mr Golding had retained their status, or on whether their accounts were under investigation.

A spokesperson said: ‘We are continuing a comprehensive review our verification policies, including an initial review of verified accounts.

‘We will remove verification from accounts whose behaviour does not fall within these new guidelines. We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new program we are proud of.’

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Donald Trump’s retweets have sparked a cross-Atlantic row, with Theresa May condemning his actions as ‘wrong’.

The President then tweeted the Prime Minister, telling her to focus her attentions on tackling extremism.


Speaking from Jordan, the Prime Minister responded  that she is ‘fully focused on dealing with extremism’.

However Mrs May stopped short of cancelling Mr Trump’s planned state visit to the UK, saying: ‘An invitation for a state visit has been extended and been offered. We have yet to set a date.’

However Mrs May stopped short of cancelling Mr Trump’s planned state visit to the UK, saying: ‘An invitation for a state visit has been extended and been offered. We have yet to set a date.’

MPs today urged the Government to withdraw the invitation, and to try and persuade the President to quit Twitter.

Conservative MP Peter Bone told the House of Commons that the ‘world would be a better place’ if the Prime Minister could ensure Trump removed himself from the social media platform.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd appeared to back the suggestion when she replied: ‘It’s interesting to note (Mr Bone’s) advice regarding Twitter accounts – I’m sure many of us might share his view.’