Did Twitter Ban the Display of the Star of David?

Many Twitter users claimed in July 2020 that they were locked out of their accounts after posting images of the religious symbol.

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Twitter icon on a smartphone screen.
Image via Natee Meepian / Shutterstock.com

Claim

Twitter has banned users from displaying the Star of David in their profile pictures.

Rating

Mostly False
Mostly False
About this rating
What's True

Twitter's Hateful Conduct Policy prohibits threats against people due to religious affiliation, and Twitter has disabled some accounts that used the Nazi-era 'yellow star' or ‘yellow badge’ symbol in their profiles for violating that rule.

What's False

Twitter does not have a blanket prohibition against users' displaying the Star of David, although in July 2020 they mistakenly locked some accounts for doing so even though those accounts were not in violation of Twitter's policies (and those accounts have since been restored).

Origin

In the latter part of July 2020, some Twitter users began complaining that the social media platform was disabling accounts that used depictions of the six-pointed Star of David, a symbol of Judaism, branding such usage to be a display of “hateful imagery:”

Arutz Sheva reported of the issue that:

Twitter has now taken it a step too far. It is forcing Jews to take off any and all profile pictures with the Star of David in them. It will report the violation as ”hateful imagery.”

At first, I couldn’t believe this was happening. That it was a one-time mistake. That was until people sent me multiple screen shots of the same Twitter violation sent to them over having a Jewish Star of David in their profile pictures and [said] that this has happened before.

We are unsure if anti-Zionists are reporting these profile pictures to twitter, or if twitter is finding them by itself. Either way, someone on the twitter team is deeming the Star of David hateful imagery and forcing users to take their pictures down if they want to continue to use their platforms.

Twitter explained via their Public Policy account that they had not intended to interfere with all depictions of the Star of David — specifically only those reminiscent of the yellow stars and badges used to identify Jews in Nazi Germany, symbols which are often employed in the modern era by anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi groups in a manner that violates Twitter’s Hateful Conduct Policy:

However, according to the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), Twitter was “locking the accounts of users who display” the Star of David in their profiles even when such usage was not in violation of Twitter’s policies:

Twitter has deemed the Star of David, a symbol of Judaism and Jewish pride, to be “hateful imagery”, and is locking the accounts of users who display it.

Several Twitter users have contacted Campaign Against Antisemitism in recent days reporting that their accounts have been locked, and Twitter has provided the following rationale: “What happened? We have determined that this account violated the Twitter Rules. Specifically for: Violating our rules against posting hateful imagery. You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header. As a result, we have locked your account.”

The social media platform advises users that if they delete the “hateful imagery”, i.e. the Star of David, the account may be unlocked.

The Stars of David in the profile pictures of locked accounts vary from artistic blue Stars of David and graffitied white Stars of David to, most ironically, a portfolio of yellow Stars of David.

Arutz Sheva and others also stated that Twitter appeared to be taking action against accounts displaying the Star of David in ways that did not constitute “hateful conduct”:

The only time twitter mentions in its rules that A Star of David is considered hateful is [in] “images altered to include hateful symbols or references to a mass murder that targeted a protected category, e.g., manipulating images of individuals to include yellow Star of David badges, in reference to the Holocaust.” None of the users that were considered “in violation” of their rules had such a star. There’s also a fine print in the twitter rules that allows exceptions if it is for educational purposes. In no way did anyone violate the rules, but they have been punished for using a symbol that has such heartfelt meaning to the Jewish people.

Twitter admitted they had erroneously taken action against some accounts displaying the Star of David, but that those instances were mistakes and had since been rectified:

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Sources

Crowley, James.   “Is Twitter Really Banning People for Using the Star of David?”
    Newsweek.   22 July 2022.

Campaign Against Antisemitism.   “CAA Reveals That Twitter Deems Jewish Star of David to Be ‘Hateful Imagery’ and Is Locking Accounts of Proud Jews Who Display It.”
    20 July 2020.

Van Der Pluym, Angela.   “The Star of David Is Deemed ‘Hateful Imagery’ on Twitter.”
    Arutz Sheva.   20 July 2020.