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Twitter hands homophobes in Africa a win as it censors vital LGBT+ account

Twitter hands homophobes in Africa a win as it censors vital LGBT+ account

  • Meanwhile hate speech and calls to kill LGBT+ people have increased.
Alex Donkor.

LGBT+ advocates in Ghana, west Africa, are urging Twitter to reinstate their account after the social media giant suspended it.

Twitter suspended the @lgbtrightsghana account without warning on 26 February. The account has now been unavailable for two weeks.

And LGBT+ Rights Ghana, which runs the account, says Twitter may have fallen for the tactics of anti-LGBT+ campaigners in the country.

‘Hate speeches and the calls to kill homosexuals have increased’

Alex Donkor of LGBT+ Rights Ghana told GSN they do not know why Twitter suspended their account.

But he says their last post called out a Ghanaian media company as having been ‘homophobic for the past 25 years’.

He added: ‘Most of the media houses in Ghana are homophobic or bias towards the LGBTQ community.

‘The either spread homophobia themselves or offer their platform to homophobic politicians, public figures, religious and opinion leaders to spew hate and incite violence towards the community.

‘Since we do not have their platforms, we use Twitter and other social media platforms to call out these people. We also let the international community know what these people are doing.

‘So we have been unable to do our work for these past two weeks. Meanwhile homophobic rants and hate speeches and the calls to kill homosexuals in Ghana by some politicians, religious and opinion leaders have increased.’

‘We have appealed to Twitter and received no reply’

The LGBT+ advocates created the account in August 2018. And while they only have 1,900 followers, they are mostly Ghanians. So it acts as a vital tool for LGBT+ people in the country.

They have appealed multiple times to Twitter to reinstate the account. But so far they have only received standard replies, rather than any real answers.

Donkor added: ‘Why would they suspend an account without notification of the said breach or anything? Why will they continue to [suspend] the account after several appeals?

‘We have read the Twitter rules and we do not think we have breached them in any way. We have appealed about seven times and have tried every means to contact Twitter but have not received any reply.’

The gay campaigner doesn’t believe Twitter intends to be homophobic. But, by suspending the account, the social media giant has handed Ghana’s homophobes a victory.

He said: ‘We do not want to believe Twitter supports homophobia, especially in African countries like Ghana where anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is high.

‘However, we believe their decision is unfair and we strongly object to the decision. The account serves as a source of information for the LGBTQ community in Ghana and also shares the situation of Ghana to the world.’

GSN has contacted Twitter for comment and is awaiting a reply.