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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Neil Gorsuch Slams Supreme Court Ruling: 'Trash Heap'

Neil Gorsuch Slams Supreme Court Ruling: 'Trash Heap'

“Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch wants the Supreme Court to correct its "trash heap" ruling in a bankruptcy case.

On Friday, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case Office of the United States Trustee v. John Q. Hammons Fall 2006, LLC.

The case centered on a 2017 law that increased quarterly fees large companies paid to fund the U.S. Trustee. However, North Carolina and Alabama, not part of the U.S. Trustee program, did not impose a matching fee increase in their bankruptcy courses, leading to a disparity in how much companies paid, according to Reuters. In 2022, the court found that the increase was unconstitutional.

In this case, the court heard arguments about whether refunds should be issued to fix this previous constitutional violation. The majority of the court's justices ruled that prospective parity, rather than refunds, would be the proper remedy.

Newsweek reached out to the Supreme Court's public information office for comment via email.

"Respondents, a group of Chapter 11 debtors, argue that they are entitled to a refund. But, as respondents forthrightly concede, adopting their preferred remedy would require us to undercut congressional intent and transform, by judicial fiat, a program that Congress designed to be self-funding into an estimated $326 million bill for taxpayers," the majority opinion, authored by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, reads.

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The case divided the conservatives on the court. Justices John RobertsSamuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh joined the liberal justices in the majority opinion, while Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrettdissented.

Neil Gorsuch slams Supreme Court ruling
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch poses for an official portrait in Washington, D.C. on October 7, 2022. Gorsuch slammed the Court’s ruling in a bankruptcy case on Friday. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Gorsuch, who wrote the dissenting opinion, offered a scathing rebuke of the majority in the case, suggesting they believe the value of a constitutional wrong is "not much." He argued that the constitutional violations brought forth in the case should be refunded.

"Two years ago, we held that this geographically discriminatory treatment violated the Constitution's Bankruptcy Clause— a provision that, we stressed, was not 'toothless,'" he wrote. "Today, however, the Court performs a remedial root canal, permitting the government to keep the cash it extracted from its unconstitutional fee regime."

He slammed the majority for allegedly refusing "to recognize what remedy our cases call for when that kind of past wrong is established," referring to "damages."

In a footnote to his dissent, Gorsuch blasted the majority opinion in the case, calling the ruling a "remedial trash heap."

"Still, if the majority wishes to rest its holding today on the lack of party presentation of these arguments, I will not stand in its way, for it means debtors who have more forcefully pressed the arguments the majority overlooks need not join Hammons on the remedial trash-heap. Courts below remain free to consider those arguments," he wrote.

He urged the court to change course, questioning "what that kind of thinking could mean for those seeking retrospective relief for other constitutional violations."

"The rest of us can only hope that the Court corrects its mistake before it metastasizes too far beyond the bankruptcy context," he wrote.“

Clarence Thomas Took Other Trips on Harlan Crow’s Jet, Documents Show - The New York Times

Thomas Took Additional Trips on Harlan Crow’s Private Jet, Documents Show

"A congressional committee released documents showing that Justice Clarence Thomas had not disclosed three private jet trips paid for by the Texas billionaire Harlan Crow.

Justice Clarence Thomas looks to his side as he is seated in a suit, with a microphone lapel on his shirt.
Justice Clarence Thomas once again did not disclose travel and gifts from Harlan Crow.Allison V. Smith for The New York Times

Justice Clarence Thomas never disclosed three trips aboard the private jet of the Texas billionaire Harlan Crow, according to documents obtained by the Senate Judiciary Committee released on Thursday.

The documents, obtained by Democrats on the panel, list three visits that have not previously been reported: one to a city in Montana, near Glacier National Park, in 2017; another to his hometown, Savannah, Ga., in March 2019; and another to Northern California in 2021.

The purpose of each trip was not immediately clear, nor was the reason for their omission on the justice’s disclosure forms. However, all of the flights involve short stays: two were round trips that did not include an overnight stay.

The revelation underlined the extent to which Justice Thomas has relied on the generosity of his friends over the years and the consistency with which he declined to report those ties.

Justice Thomas has said that he had been advised he did not need to disclose gifts of personal hospitality from friends who did not have cases before the Supreme Court.

The announcement is all but certain to fuel the fight over greater transparency at the Supreme Court. Lawmakers’ efforts to require that justices be held to ethics standards similar to those for the executive and legislative branches have faltered. And even as the court, under immense public scrutiny, announced its first ethics code in the fall, experts immediately pointed out its lack of an enforcement mechanism or penalties should a justice have violated it.

The revealing of the trips “makes it crystal clear that the highest court needs an enforceable code of conduct, because its members continue to choose not to meet the moment,” Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and the chairman of the committee, said in a statement.

Justice Thomas did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His lawyer, Elliot S. Berke, did not respond to questions about details of the trips, but defended the trips in a statement.

The information, supplied to lawmakers by Mr. Crow, “fell under the ‘personal hospitality exemption’ and was not required to be disclosed by Justice Thomas,” Mr. Berke said.

Mr. Berke was referring to an exception to federal disclosure requirements that underwent a rule change by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts in March last year. The change required the justices to disclose more of their activities, including some free trips, air travel and other types of gifts. All three trips happened before that rule change.

Mr. Berke said that, since the rule change, “Justice Thomas has fully complied with the new disclosure requirement.”

A spokesman for Mr. Crow, Michael Zona, said in a statement that Mr. Crow had agreed to cooperate with the committee, furnishing “information responsive to its requests going back seven years.”

The first trip, from May 7 to 9, 2017, involved a private jet flight from St. Louis, Mo., to Kalispell, Mont., and onto Dallas, Texas.

Justice Thomas delivered remarks at the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis on Friday, May 5, 2017, but it is not clear what he was doing in Montana. Kalispell, a city of roughly 29,000 in the state’s northwest, is known as a gateway to Glacier National Park, a haven for fly fishing and hiking. The reasons for his stop in Dallas, where Mr. Crow lives, are unclear.

The second trip took place on March 23, 2019. It was a single-day, round-trip to Savannah, Ga., where he grew up. His mother and several relatives remain in the area.

The third trip was also a single-day excursion, a round-trip flight on June 29, 2021, from Washington, to San Jose, Calif. The court issued at least three opinions that day, according to the Supreme Court website, but it was during the Covid-19 crisis when the justices were allowed to work remotely, meaning they did not have to appear in person in the courtroom.

According to his most recent financial disclosure report, which was released last week, Justice Thomas amended previous filings to add 2019 vacations with Mr. Crow to Bali, Indonesia, and Bohemian Grove, a secretive, all-male retreat in Northern California. Justice Thomas did not report any private jet flights or travel from benefactors for 2023, the year covered by the most recent disclosure.

He listed one gift: a pair of photo albums worth $2,000 from Terrence and Barbara Giroux. Mr. Giroux is the departing executive director of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, an exclusive group that includes figures at some of the highest echelons of society.

Julie Tate contributed research."

Clarence Thomas Took Other Trips on Harlan Crow’s Jet, Documents Show - The New York Times

Thursday, June 13, 2024

JB Pritzker, the Democrat Who Isn’t Afraid to Call Trump a Felon - The New York Times

This Top Democrat Is Leading His Party’s Attack on Trump as a Felon

"Most of the party’s leaders want to avoid too much focus on Donald Trump’s felonies. JB Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, feels differently.

When former President Donald J. Trump was convicted in his New York criminal trial, it took Gov. JB Pritzker of Illinois about 19 minutes to fire off a statement calling him a felon, a racist, a homophobe and a grifter.

Only one other Democratic governor issued a statement that night about Mr. Trump’s conviction, and the Biden campaign’s response — which came one minute after Mr. Pritzker’s — focused on what Mr. Trump would do as president rather than on the verdict.

Since then, as the Democratic Party and the Biden campaign have wrestled with how to wield the conviction to their advantage, Mr. Pritzker has emerged as the chief amplifier of Mr. Trump’s felon status.

Unlike other top surrogates who have followed Mr. Biden’s lead and kept the focus on Mr. Trump’s policies rather than his conviction, Mr. Pritzker has blazed his own trail of Trump insults — to great cheers from fellow Democrats who are hungry to attack.

“I can’t mince words when it comes to talking about who Donald Trump is,” Mr. Pritzker said in an interview on Wednesday. “It’s important, I think, for people to really refocus on the idea that: Do they really want a president who is a felon who faces jail time?”

Mr. Pritzker’s aggressive approach comes with a warning for his fellow Democrats. In a fiery keynote speech last weekend at the Wisconsin Democratic Party’s convention in Milwaukee, he compared the party to the proverbial frog that does not realize the pot of slowly boiling water it sits in will soon be deadly.

“Donald Trump was convicted of 34 counts by a jury of his peers after being held liable for rape, and the discussion at the water cooler is whether that should be an issue in the presidential race,” Mr. Pritzker said on Saturday. “We’re already in the pot, folks. Republicans have been increasing the temperature for eight years. We better hop out soon or it’s going to boil us all to death.”

As a billionaire blue-state governor who is America’s wealthiest elected official, Mr. Pritzker operates with more freedom to be seen as a slash-and-burn partisan than his colleagues in battleground states.

The biggest applause line in his remarks to Wisconsin Democrats was one that tied together knife-twisting Trump insults with the reality that one of Mr. Biden’s biggest challenges is reminding voters what his rival’s leadership was like.

The former president, Mr. Pritzker said, is an “old man with an orange spray tan who fell asleep at his own trial.” The governor added, “He will count on the American people forgetting how awful his presidency was.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Biden has called Mr. Trump a felon just once publicly in the two weeks since the verdict — during a Connecticut fund-raiser last week that was off-limits to cameras. He had long said he would not discuss Mr. Trump’s legal troubles, sticking to that pledge until the Manhattan conviction.

And when the president’s son Hunter Biden was convicted this week on felony gun charges in federal court, the elder Mr. Biden issued a statement reiterating his love for his son and his respect for the judicial process.

“I will accept the outcome of this case,” Mr. Biden said.

The president’s campaign has issued an array of news releases and fund-raising appeals that used the phrase “convicted felon” to describe Mr. Trump. On Wednesday, the campaign mocked Mr. Trump for not holding public events, sending out a news release with a headline that nodded to his midweek breaks during the six-week trial: “Out of court but still free on Wednesdays.”

“Donald Trump is either too lazy, too tired or too incapable to campaign after his criminal conviction,” said James Singer, a Biden campaign spokesman.

But Mr. Pritzker has a more confrontational stance, one that is at odds with other Democrats.

The only other Democratic governor to comment on Mr. Trump’s conviction on the day it arrived was Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado, who wrote mildly on social media that “the guilty convictions from a jury of his peers show the former president lacks the moral capacity to lead our country.”

In the interview on Wednesday, Mr. Pritzker said that because voters — particularly those who do not follow the news closely — had so many different sources of information and news, it was incumbent upon Mr. Biden and Democrats to remind them that Mr. Trump is a felon who could face jail time. (He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11.)

While the Biden campaign has operated under the thinking that voters will reject Mr. Trump because of his policy positions — particularly on abortion rights, health care and democracy — Mr. Pritzker said the former president’s conviction was what would move voters to back Mr. Biden.

“This is what I believe,” he said. “This is also what I believe is important to most Americans, particularly those in the middle who are ultimately going to decide this election.”

In Wisconsin, Mr. Pritzker’s caustic remarks about Mr. Trump were met with laughter and applause in the ballroom of a Milwaukee casino.

“You had people who will not tire of hearing what a horrible person Trump is,” said Janet Bewley, a former Democratic leader of the Wisconsin State Senate who was elected to be a Biden delegate at the party’s national convention in August. “They love to hear people foaming and they love to foam.”

After speeches from mild-mannered local politicians including Gov. Tony Evers and Senator Tammy Baldwin, Mr. Pritzker’s remarks served as a road test for the sort of red-meat speech that would be at home during the Democratic convention in Chicago. (Speakers at the event have not been announced, but Mr. Pritzker, as the de facto host, is likely to have a slot.)

“It was clear in the room as he was doing it that he was getting more aggressive about the felony conviction,” said Lt. Gov. Sara Rodriguez of Wisconsin. “That is something that’s going to resonate with Wisconsinites. It is going to resonate with independent voters. Do we want a felon in the White House? Is that what we want to do?”

JB Pritzker, the Democrat Who Isn’t Afraid to Call Trump a Felon - The New York Times


She wrote about the Black experience in America and became the target of...

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Elon Musk says society must move on from the ‘constant subject’ of racism: ‘We are all descended from slaves’

Elon Musk says society must move on from the ‘constant subject’ of racism: ‘We are all descended from slaves’

(This South African racist must be boycotted. People of color must stop spending money on this evil man’s products. Please people wake up.)

“Elon Musk has spent months fulminating against diversity, equity, and inclusion and, at times, promoting far-right theories, like The Great Replacement, on his platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

In a roughly hourlong and painfully uncomfortable exchange with former CNN anchor Don Lemon, Musk doubled down on an assortment of his DEI criticisms while fumbling over how to define terms like “woke” and backtracking, albeit slightly, on antisemitic rhetoric he’s shared.

The full interview is worth watching, though it’s admittedly hard to get through. On the topic of race and discrimination, Musk repeatedly failed to answer Lemon’s questions directly. Instead, he prevaricated when asked pointed questions, such as what evidence he has that DEI programs lower standards of entry for people of color, specifically in sectors like medicine. Musk dodged the question, stating that his repost suggesting as much on X was a hypothetical rather than a statement of fact. (It wasn’t.)

Lemon also flagged Musk’s comments linking the Boeing midflight malfunction to diversity efforts. At the time, Musk had responded to an X user who speculated that the intelligence of United Airlines pilots who attend historically Black colleges and universities is lower than that of Air Force pilots. “It will take an airplane crashing and killing hundreds of people for them to change this crazy policy of DIE,” Musk wrote, misspelling DEI. In a separate response, Musk wrote, “Do you want to fly in an airplane where they prioritized DEI hiring over your safety? That is actually happening.”

Lemon noted that Boeing took ownership of the plane malfunction, stating that it was not a pilot error but rather a door plug blowout. In fact, the pilot was a woman who managed to land the plane safely.

When flatly asked whether he believes in diversity and inclusion, Musk said he believes people should be treated “according to their skills and integrity, and that’s it,” a comment he often made throughout the interview. It’s an argument I’ve heard time and time again from those who oppose DEI. The irony, however, is that the very creation of DEI programs was meant to combat the fact that people of diverse backgrounds are not hired based solely on their skills and talent.

Musk also dismissed recent racial discrimination lawsuits against his EV company Tesla, which last month settled for an undisclosed amount, following a $3.2 million judgment in court to a Black former Tesla elevator operator.

“If there’s over 20,000 people in one building, is anyone gonna behave perfectly? No,” Musk admitted. “Did I see any situations that I thought were improper? I did not.”

What seems to be Musk’s biggest gripe with DEI is what he perceives as an endless discussion of racial inequities. “Society blames a lot of things on [racism],” he said. “Trying to make everything a race issue is divisive and corrosive to society.”

Musk acknowledged that he finds that to be unfair, although he didn’t specify who it’s unfair toward—presumably white men. “We should not make this a constant subject. We need to move on.”

In his closing salvo on DEI, Musk said that every country has had a measure of slavery and racism against another group. “If you study history broadly, everyone was a slave,” he said, an assertion Lemon pushed back on.

Musk added, “We as a country should move beyond questions of race and gender. We should treat people as individuals and base our opinion of them on their characters and skills.”

“I don’t think anyone would disagree with that,” Lemon said. “All I’m saying is that that’s not happening.”

Join me in NYC on April 25th for a DEI roundtable hosted by FleishmanHillard to discuss what lies ahead for the industry. Space is limited. Sign up here.

Ruth Umoh

What’s Trending

Free speech. A federal appeals court ruled that a Florida law prohibiting diversity and race-based discussions in private workplaces is unconstitutional. AP

Rebrand. In an effort to rehabilitate his image after FTX went belly up, the fallen crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried debated coming out as a Republican and fighting against the “woke agenda.”  

Next frontier. Conservatives are launching legal challenges against state programs that aim to increase racial and ethnic diversity across industries, from teaching to farming. WaPo

Small win. The American Academy of Dermatology rejected a proposal to end its DEI programs after dozens of members authored a resolution to end such initiatives at the institution. NBC News

The Big Think

The venerable New York Times scribe and founder of the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, has an indispensable and thought-provoking read on the color-blind campaign to undo civil rights progress. The piece also touches on who actually benefits from affirmative action—Black or otherwise. 

"The descendants of slavery, for whom affirmative action originated, remain underrepresented among college students," Hannah-Jones writes. "At elite universities, research shows, the Black population consists disproportionately of immigrants and children of immigrants rather than students whose ancestors were enslaved here."

Elon Musk’s X ran ads on #whitepower and other hateful hashtags

Elon Musk’s X app ran ads on #whitepower and other hateful hashtags

By David Ingram 
NBC News
8 min
June 6, 2024

“Elon Musk’s social media app X has been placing advertisements in the search results for at least 20 hashtags used to promote racist and antisemitic extremism, including #whitepower, according to a review of the platform. 

NBC News found the advertisements by searching various hashtags used to promote racism and antisemitism, and by browsing X accounts that often post racial or religious hatred. The hashtags vary from obvious slogans such as #whitepride and #unitethewhite to more fringe and coded words such as #groyper (a movement of online white nationalists) and #kalergi (a debunked theory alleging a conspiracy to eliminate white people from Europe).

While the hashtags make up a small percentage of what is posted daily on X, they add to previous examples showing how the platform has struggled to maintain control of its ad network and how it intersects with hate speech — an issue that has plagued the platform for years. The placements allow X to monetize extremist content more than 18 months after Musk said that he would demonetize hate posts on the platform he owns. 

It’s not clear to what extent people at X were aware that the company was monetizing the extremist hashtags prior to NBC News’ reporting. Twitter, as the platform was then known, began placing ads amid search results around 2010. Last year, some users posted on X that they saw ads amid the search results for #heilhitler. Some of those users tweeted about the issue to X management, meaning the company could have known for months, at least, that it was monetizing certain problematic hashtag searches.

After NBC News sought comment from X on the findings, X appeared to have taken action against at least five of the 20 hashtags that previously had ads, removing the ability of users to search for the hashtags. The other 15 including #whitepower remained searchable.

In a statement to NBC News, X did not dispute the findings but said the company “had already taken action on a number of these terms and will continue to expand our approach as necessary.” The statement also reiterated the company’s intention, announced in January, to open a 100-person “center of excellence” for content moderation. 

The statement, sent via email, said the NBC News findings did not reflect the full extent of the company’s enforcement practices, including around violent content

“X has clear rules in place relating to violent and hateful speech, and robust protections in place for advertisers,” X said in the statement. “One of our enforcement tools is to limit the reach of posts, which is not reflected in this research.” 

Representatives for X did not answer emailed questions about how it decides which hashtags to demonetize or block entirely. 

X bans the promotion or glorification of violence and has previously applied the policy to racist and antisemitic content. In April, an NBC News report found that at least 150 paid X subscribers at the time were sharing pro-Nazi content, including speeches by Adolf Hitler. Being a paid subscriber of X allows users to potentially enroll in X’s revenue sharing program, which gives creators a cut of ad dollars generated from their content.

Anika Collier Navaroli, who worked at Twitter as a senior content policy expert before leaving in 2021, said that X could block or demonetize specific hashtags like #whitepower if it wanted to without compromising its free speech principles. 

“There’s no freedom to trend, or populate at the top of search, or be recommended to new people. These are not freedoms,” said Navaroli, now a senior fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. 

Musk has rolled back much of the content moderation on Xsince he bought the app, then known as Twitter, in October 2022. 

X has lost dozens of major advertisers under Musk’s ownership, with 74 out of the top 100 U.S. advertisers from that month no longer spending on the platform as of May, according to research firm Sensor Tower. At least some of those former advertisers, such as Disney, quit X after reports about antisemitism and other forms of hate on the platform, including in posts by Musk himself. Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, created a firestorm in November when he embraced the concept of the “great replacement,” which says there is a conspiracy to replace the white population with nonwhite people. 

In April, Hyundai paused spending on X after a sponsored post from the automaker appeared next to antisemitic and pro-Nazi posts. The company said Tuesday it had not resumed such spending. 

Because hashtags are used to amplify the reach of content, they can be ripe for abuse, and for years have been a significant battleground for content moderation as tech companies such as Meta and TikTok decided which hashtags to demonetize or restrict. 

Social media apps have various ways to restrict hashtags, including blocking them from searches and removing them from auto-complete functions. Last year, X blocked searchesfor hashtags associated with child sex abuse material after NBC News reported that certain terms served as rallying points for people seeking to trade or sell the illegal material. At the time, an X representative said the company was using automated detection models to compile a list of thousands of hashtags that could violate the company’s policies.

Before Wednesday, X appeared to have blocked at least three antisemitic hashtags, according to searches of the platform. A search for those hashtags produces an error message: “Something went wrong, but don’t fret — it’s not your fault.” In all, NBC News reviewed 50 hashtags. After NBC News contacted X about the hashtags, 12 of 50 hashtags appeared to be blocked. 

The 20 monetized extremist hashtags on X included six associated with explicit white supremacy, eight promoting antisemitism and six related to anti-immigrant conspiracy theories. Gearset and Shopify, two companies that make business software, and MS, a company that creates music playlists, were among the X advertisers whose ads ran in between the search results for racist and antisemitic hashtags; the three companies did not respond to requests for comment. 

Companies don’t necessarily choose the type of content their ads are adjacent to. They can use block lists to try to avoid certain content, though on X’s ad system, they must list keywords one-by-one to avoid them. 

Tech companies do not publish their block lists and vary in how often they restrict hashtags to reduce the amplification of hate speech, sexual content or other objectionable material. In 2013, a blogger compiled a list of more than 200 hashtags that Instagram had made unsearchable. Most of them referred to sex or nudity, which Instagram limits while X generally does not. 

X is different from rival social media sites in allowing certain searchable hashtags with racial prejudice. Instagram and TikTok do not show users any results when they search for #whitepower or #whitepride — two hashtags that X has allowed and placed advertisements alongside. 

Of the 50 reviewed hashtags, searches on X for 45 of them returned recent racist or antisemitic posts. On Instagram, 15 of the 50 hashtags returned racist or antisemitic posts, with the other 35 either blocked or producing anti-racist or unrelated content. On TikTok, 10 of the 50 hashtags returned racist or antisemitic posts, with the rest either blocked or producing other content. 

Instagram, which is owned by Meta, discloses that certain hashtags may not be searchable if the associated content “consistently” does not follow the app’s community guidelines. The company says it periodically reviews hashtags under moderation and may revise its decisions based on the content being posted using the hashtags.

Instagram said in a statement that, short of removing a problematic hashtag entirely from search, it may take less restrictive steps such as removing individual posts. Meta has policies that apply to specific hateful ideologies such as Nazism. 

Of the 15 hashtags that produced racist or antisemitic content on Instagram per the NBC News review, Instagram made six of them non-searchable by Wednesday.

TikTok described a similar policy and process, saying that it removes or restricts hashtags that violate the app’s rules.

TikTok said that it tailors its approach depending on circumstances, with “public interest exceptions” to leave up some problematic content for educational or satirical reasons. 

“We recognize that some content that would otherwise violate our rules may be in the public interest to view,” it says on a website

Of the 10 hashtags that produced racist or antisemitic content on TikTok per the NBC News review, TikTok made seven of them non-searchable by Wednesday. 

Some of the extremist hashtags on X have spiked in popularity in recent months, according to research by Darren Linvill, co-director of Clemson University’s Media Forensics Hub. Linvill, who has researched troll factoriesand disinformation tactics, analyzed several of the hashtags at the request of NBC News. 

In late March, a Holocaust denial hashtag echoing the debunked conspiracy theory that it “never happened” spiked to more than 2,200 mentions in one day after previously getting almost no activity, according to Linvill’s findings. Linvill said the spike appeared to be the result of an organized effort by a group of accounts to get the hashtag trending, with no clear connection to offline events. He said several of the accounts were later suspended.

The hashtag was searchable on X until Wednesday, when it appeared to be blocked. Top posts on that hashtag included images depicting antisemitic stereotypes and memes depicting Holocaust denial.

AI appears to be fueling some of the content associated with certain hashtags. In one series of posts, neo-Nazi users have posted AI-generated cartoon hedgehogs with the animal as a stand-in for Hitler. Linvill said use of the associated hashtag spiked this year through early May, with accounts repeatedly posting images of hedgehogs in paramilitary and Nazi outfits holding firearms and giving Nazi salutes. NBC News did not see advertisements in the search results for that hashtag. 

Megan Squire, deputy director for data analytics at the Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-hate group founded in 1971, said that X isn’t living up to its own policies when it allows violent extremists to use the platform’s amplification features.

“It shows that it’s not top of mind and it’s not on anyone’s to-do list for the week,” she said. “It’s a choice.”

She said that X’s approach to violent extremism contradicts its hands-on attempts to be an arbiter of popular culture — attracting presidential candidates and being a hub of discussion for major events. 

“They can’t have it both ways,” she said. “If you’re going to have the power to weigh in on cultural issues, then that extends to the responsibility to use that power for good.”