Amanda Marcotte

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Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon, and formerly wrote for Slate and The Guardian.

And there have definitely been some marked improvements. It’s a harder to run a hate group on Facebook than it used to be, since it will often get reported and taken down. It used to be unheard of for Twitter to ban users, but now you’re seeing some of the most mean-spirited harassers losing their Twitter handles.

But these moves are doing very little to stem the overwhelming tide of bilious hatred pouring out on social media.

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Banning overt white supremacists who fling racial slurs around would be good, of course, but odds are high that Twitter isn’t going to take away, let’s say, Donald Trump’s account. The man is clearly a racist, but he knows well enough to push his racist notions through implication or to layer them with plausible deniability, rather than resorting to crude racial slurs that justify the immediate banning of his account.

This matters, because someone like Trump is a much stronger conduit for racist sentiment than a bunch of skinheads yelling racial slurs on Twitter. And he’s really on the more overt end of things.