CST complain to Twitter over far-right organisation promoting antisemitism

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CST complain to Twitter over far-right organisation promoting antisemitism

The communal charity reported the activity of the Patriotic Alternative online accounts, after their leader Mark Collett purchased a blue tick giving him official status on Twitter.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

James Owens used his You Tube channel to recruit activists for the far-right Patriotic Alternative group
James Owens used his You Tube channel to recruit activists for the far-right Patriotic Alternative group

The far-right extremist group Patriotic Alternative uses “social media to promote antisemitism and racism to its followers”, the Community Security Trust has warned over fears about its activity on the Twitter platform.

CST had reported the accounts run by the group’s leading actvists, Mark Collett, Laura Towler, and Sam Melia to Twitter, explaining that they belonged to an extreme right-wing, antisemitic organisation.

It followed a series of inflammatory posts by Collett, the group’s leader, on Twitter, and his blue tick status on the platform, as a result of new owner Elon Musk’s decision to allow users to purchase official varification.

Collett was a former chairman of the Young BNP who was once recorded boasting that “Hitler will live forever.”

He has enjoyed renewed popularity with his involvement with Patriotic Alternative – an so-called alt-right group, who have aimed to stir up hatred in recent weeks towards asylum seekers who are housed in hotels in the UK.

On social media Collett has regularly backed ideas around “great replacement theory” along with tropes about Jewish power.

Towler, Patriotic Alternative’s deputy leader, had been previously suspended from Twitter, but returned in December 2021, and recently praised the platform’s owner Musk for allowing more anti-immigrant sentiment to be published.

Melia, her partner, is also a leading figure in the group, who also tweeted under the Patriotic Alternative banner.

After reported the Patriotic Alternative accounts to Twitter, CST initially received a message stating: “No violation of the Twitter rules has been found by the team. If there are any specific tweets that you would like me to share for review, please do not hesitate to send these over.”

It was raised further concerns over Musk’s purchase of Twitter last year, and his policy towards confronting far-right activity on the platform.

Patriotic Alternative and its leaders had previously had their sites taken down by the platform, but allowed to be active they able to reach hundreds of millions of potential recruits.

Jewish News understands that following a futher intervention by The Times newspaper Twitter responded to CST’s concerns and took down the Patriotic Alternative acccounts last week.

A CST spokesperson said: “Patriotic Alternative is an extremist organisation that uses social media to promote antisemitism and racism to its followers, and their appalling views should have no place on Twitter or any other mainstream platform.

“Their reappearance on Twitter is not an isolated problem but part of a wave of extreme, antisemitic voices being welcomed back. It feels like years of progress in reducing the presence of hateful actors on Twitter has unravelled in the space of a few months.”

Following the decision last week to suspend their accounts on Twitter Towler wrote:”We gained followers by the thousands… it was fun while it lasted.”

Collett told The Times he would be appealing against renewed suspension from Twitter saying he was a paying customer.


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