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Twitter bans high-profile users with alt-right ties

The social media network recently said it would crack down on online abuse, and white nationalists who spread hatred are on its list.

Bethany Clarke, Getty Images

Twitter admits it has a hate problem and is working on ways to fix it.

The social media platform has suspended accounts of several high-profile users associated with the alt-right movement, reported Wednesday. These include Richard Spencer, Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn and John Rivers.

The alt-right is a loosely organized movement in the US of people on the far right with white nationalist leanings. It has broadly been characterized as racist, anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant and otherwise bigoted. The alt-right gained national attention during President-elect Donald Trump's campaign, particularly when Steve Bannon became campaign CEO in August. Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News, has called the news site a platform for the alt-right. Trump this week chose Bannon as his chief strategist, which means he would be one of the most powerful people in the White House.

The account suspensions come days after Twitter claimed it would crack down on abuse and hate speech, and months after the banning of Milo Yiannopoulos.

Spencer, among those suspended this week, has been a leader in the alt-right movement since creating a website for it in 2010. He's president of the National Policy Institute, which describes itself as "dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States," and has been described as a white supremacist.

In July, Spencer was reported as saying he wants Africans, Jews and Hispanics deported from the US.

"It is corporate Stalinism," he said in a YouTube response to this week's Twitter ban. "There is a great purging going on, and [Twitter is] purging people on the basis of their views."