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Twitter suspends alt-right accounts

Micro-blogging site suspends the accounts of several prominent members of "alt-right" group.

Online harassment has long been a problem for the internet [Getty Images]

Twitter has suspended the accounts of several people associated with the alt-right movement, a loosely organised far-right group that espouses white nationalism and has shown strong support for US President-elect Donald Trump.

Richard Spencer, the head of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think-tank that has advocated for African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Jews and Muslims to be removed from the US, said his personal Twitter account and accounts for his institute and his magazine were all suspended this week without notification.

Spencer, who is credited with popularising the term "alt-right", called the suspensions a coordinated attack against users with certain viewpoints.

"This is 2016 and we live in a digital world," Spencer was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying. "Twitter is how the president releases press releases and it's also how teenage girls talk about Justin Bieber.

"Twitter is not just some website. It's a public space and we have to treat it that way."

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Pax Dickinson, who was ousted as chief technology officer of the website Business Insider in 2013 for sending offensive tweets, says he also wasn't given a reason for his Twitter suspension. But he says it likely stemmed from a tweet he sent director Joss Whedon that included an anti-gay slur.

Dickinson says he's appealed against the suspension, but has yet to hear back from Twitter

The Twitter accounts of alt-right personalities Paul Town, Ricky Vaughn and John Rivers also were suspended as of Wednesday.

The social website declined to comment, but noted that its policies forbid violent threats, hate speech or harassment and promise to take action against violators. 

Source: Al Jazeera News And Agencies