Twitter Restores Account for COGIC Bishop Talbert Swan After it Was Suspended for ‘Hateful Conduct’

Bishop Talbert Swan, the leader of the Church of God in Christ’s Nova Scotia jurisdiction, addresses a summit of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 21, 2018. (RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks)
Bishop Talbert Swan, the leader of the Church of God in Christ’s Nova Scotia jurisdiction, addresses a summit of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 21, 2018. (RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks)

Twitter has restored the account of an African-American bishop of the Church of God in Christ that was suspended after he used a racially sensitive term.

Bishop Talbert Swan, the pastor of a church in Springfield, Mass., and the president of the local chapter of the NAACP, said he believes his account was restored on Tuesday (Sept. 4), after he deleted a tweet that included the word “coon.”

The website etymonline.com says that term is sometimes used as an insult about a black person. But Swan said the meaning of the word depends on the context and in this instance referred to “a sellout or someone who is speaking or doing things that is not in the best interest of the African-American community.”

On June 2, Swan tweeted in response to a suggestion that he follow someone with whom he disagreed, “No thanks I’m on a no coon diet.”

Swan, who is also the leader of the Church of God in Christ’s Nova Scotia jurisdiction, told Religion News Service he was glad to have regained access to his account. Initially he believed he had been suspended permanently after receiving an email from Twitter that said, “Your account has been suspended and will not be restored,” and that cited “hateful conduct” as the reason.

“I do not plan on changing the nature of what I tweet about based on the suspension,” said Swan, who has more than 75,000 Twitter followers. “I will avoid that particular term, however I am not convinced that was the totality of why the decision was made.”

Swan further claimed, however, that his account is being “shadowbanned” because some people cannot see activity on his account. Twitter, which has been accused by President Trump of shadow banning some accounts, has denied it engages in such a practice.

A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment on the specifics of Swan’s account. But Twitter’s rules note that one form of enforcement is “requiring you to delete prohibited content before you can again create new posts and interact with other Twitter users.”

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SOURCE: Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service