Today, the hashtag #BuildTheWall is being displayed as a promoted trend on Twitter for all U.S. users. The ad was paid by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a white supremacist group whose founder, John Tanton, has stated that the U.S. should remain a “majority-white population: a goal to be achieved, presumably, by limiting the number of nonwhites who enter the country,” as stated on Southern Poverty Law Center’s website.
— FAIR (@FAIRImmigration) April 18, 2017
This is not the first time Twitter is cashing in on white supremacist groups. The day before President Trump’s inauguration, the hashtag #StopSanctuaryCities was also sponsored by FAIR with the goal to “pressure President-Elect Trump & Congress to start enforcing our immigration laws,” as reported on Rewire.
Tanton’s ties to racist groups has been recorded by SPLC:
“FAIR founder John Tanton, a man with a lengthy record of friendly correspondence with Holocaust deniers, a former Klan lawyer and leading white nationalist thinkers, has repeatedly suggested that racial conflict will be the outcome of immigration. In 1998, he told a reporter that whites would inevitably develop a racial consciousness because “most people don’t want to disappear into the dustbin of history,” and added that once whites did become racially conscious, the result would be “the war of each against all.”
It is worrisome that popular platforms such as Twitter continue to give legitimacy to white supremacist groups by accepting their paid advertisements. While these ads might make some believe that the white supremacist movement is a step ahead of U.S. based groups working to protect immigrants, they merely show that groups such as FAIR have connections to rich individuals and entities who are willing to invest in racism. These type of advertisements surely cost a great amount of money, a benefit that grassroots pro-immigrant rights group do not have.
#BuildTheWall is offensive hate speech. We gonna put it up there with the cartoon frog?
— Young J. Caillou ن (@GoldSpacePotato) April 19, 2017
Twitter is not the only entity giving hate groups legitimacy. FAIR has also sat in meetings with officials from the Trump administration, as reported by The Daily Beast, and their nativist ideas are reflected in immigration policies the Trump administration has proposed and implemented.
Do you think Twitter should allow these ads?