It took Twitter and Facebook five days to ban a radical Islamic preacher who had been convicted to five and a half years and served time for supporting the Islamic State terror group.
Anjem Choudary – who was released from prison halfway through his sentence and even had a ban on public speaking and restrictions on access to his phone and the internet imposed in the UK, decided to set up Facebook and Twitter accounts once these measures had been lifted.
Other post-prison restrictions that no longer apply had forced him to wear an electronic tag, respect a night-time curfew, see his probation officer, and stay away from persons suspected of being extremists themselves.
Choudary claims that his posts were “moderate” and that he “didn’t even do anything” – but that the bans came swiftly on both platforms. And he is experiencing the same treatment like droves of journalists, politicians, and regular users who do not have a multi-year prison sentence for supporting terrorist organizations – the bans came suddenly and with no real explanation.
Choudary, dubbed “hate preacher” by the media, whose real life followers reportedly included ISIS killers and executioners, learned only that he was suspended from Twitter for breaking its rules on violent organizations. No further details appear to have been provided – whether Twitter believes that former inmates cannot be reformed, and banned him solely based on his past “resume” – or if his posts now contained content prohibited by the company’s policy.
Even though Choudary has served his time and is now free to speak in public since his gag order expired – and has done so recently in a London park where his supporters had gathered – this obviously doesn’t translate to the online world. But according to The Sun, his previous account stayed on Twitter even after his arrest, at the height of his pro-terror advocacy.
After he was gone from Twitter on Wednesday, Facebook deleted his account the following day, and is yet to comment on this case.
“I asked them why but they have not come back yet,” Choudary told UK media.
He shouldn’t hold his breath.