Twitter said on Tuesday that it was requiring Louis Farrakhan, the controversial Nation of Islam leader, to delete a 2018 antisemitic tweet that the company said now violates a new rule prohibiting the dehumanization of religious groups.
Farrakhan’s tweet, which compared the Jewish people to termites, had long prompted widespread outrage directed at Twitter, which had maintained the tweet did not violate its previous set of rules.
But on Tuesday, Twitter introduced new rules against hateful conduct, prohibiting “language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion.”
“If reported, Tweets that break this rule sent before today will need to be deleted, but will not directly result in any account suspensions because they were Tweeted before the rule was set,” Twitter said in a blog post announcing the policy change.
The new rules applied to Farrakhan’s 2018 tweet. Shortly after the updated policy went into effect, Twitter took action against it.
“It’s against our rules to dehumanize others based on religion,” a Twitter spokesperson told CNN Business. “That tweet is now unavailable.”
When Twitter requires a user to delete a tweet violating one of its policies, the user is also unable to post new tweets from his or her account until the offending one is removed.
Farrakhan, who has a long history of making anti-Semitic and homophobic statements, has the ability to appeal Twitter’s decision, according to company policy.
A message left with the office of the Nation of Islam was not immediately returned.