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Britain First duo Fransen and Golding suspended from Twitter

By Nicola Irwin

Twitter has suspended the accounts of two far-right Britain First leaders facing charges in Northern Ireland.

It coincides with the platform enforcing new rules and guidelines designed to make Twitter a "safer environment".

Among the accounts to be suspended is that of Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who faces a hate speech charge after an incident outside Belfast City Hall in August.

Ms Fransen was re-arrested last week after allegations she made anti-Islamic comments at a peace wall in Belfast.

Ms Jansen gained notoriety when three anti-Muslim videos she posted were retweeted by US President Donald Trump, whom she then asked to intervene in her Belfast court case.

Those videos, which could be viewed by the president's 40-plus million followers, have now disappeared from his timeline.

Other accounts which appear to have been suspended for violating the new rules are @BritainFirstHQ and that of leader Paul Golding, @Goldingbf.

Golding was also detained and charged with similar offences when he arrived at court last Thursday with his colleague.

Both were released on bail.

All three accounts are listed on the Britain First website as "official accounts".

The group did not respond to a request for comment, but shared links to articles about the suspension on its Facebook page.

Twitter announced the changes to its guidelines last month, warning people they would come into effect on December 18.

The site will now weigh hateful imagery in the same way it does graphic violence and adult content on its site. That means users may not use such imagery in live video or profile and header images.

If a user posts hateful symbols or images, it must be marked "sensitive media". Other users would then see a warning that would allow them to decide whether to view the post.

Twitter is also prohibiting users from abusing or threatening others through their profile information, including usernames.

Twitter has admitted it "may make some mistakes" as it strives to enforce the new policy aimed at reducing hateful and abusive content on the platform.

In a statement, the social site said: "Today, we are starting to enforce these policies across Twitter.

"In our efforts to be more aggressive here, we may make some mistakes and are working on a robust appeals process.

"We'll evaluate and iterate on these changes in the coming days and weeks, and will keep you posted on progress along the way."

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