Activist Spraypaints Twitter HQ with Hate Speech They Refuse to Delete
From the man who brought you #Yolocaust, the online art project shaming teens who take happy selfies while visiting Nazi death camps on educational trips, comes #HiTwitter, a public art stunt aimed at furthering the conversation around hate speech.
When artist and activist Shahak Shapira realized the 300 tweets he had reported for being outright hateful threats weren’t deleted, he gathered up some spray paint and made huge stencils of the tweets he had tried to get Twitter to remove, and walked on down to the company’s Hamburg office. The art that resulted is pretty hard to ignore.
After the police showed up and left, Shapira told his camera operators that Twitter and law enforcement simply cleaned the hate speech from the sidewalk closest to the building and left the rest of it. That means Twitter’s Hamburg headquarters was perfectly okay with their staircase reading “Jew scum”, which was one of the many anti-Semitic tweets Shapira tried to report and have removed from the platform.
Facebook and Twitter landed in hot water recently when inside information regarding their approach to hate speech was leaked. In May, the European Union officially “failed” Twitter, on the grounds of not effectively banning hate speech from its platform. Earlier this summer, slides from an internal Facebook training session were released online, proving to the site’s millions of users that many people simply aren’t protected from hate speech at all.
Shapira told Vice Germany he chose not to publicize the authors of the tweets, adding, “It should actually be in the interest of Twitter to watch such things happen on the platform - regardless of whether it is a criminal offense or not.”