Since GPAHE’s publishing of its report on extremist groups and activity in Portugal, Elon Musk’s Twitter has taken action on a number of individuals and leaders of hateful groups in Portugal identified in the report. At least 15 hateful accounts on Twitter have been suspended. Remarkably, several are connected to politicians and political parties, which typically enjoy looser moderation, if any at all.
The suspended accounts include the following: the propaganda account, called “Racismo Contra Europeus” (Racism Against Europeans), of infamous Portuguese neo-Nazi, and former leader of the Portuguese Hammerskins, Mário Machado, was suspended during this period (see GPAHE’s profile of the Hammerskins here). This account, which originally went by the name of “Racismo Contra Portugueses” (Racism Against the Portuguese) posted random racist videos of people of immigrant or African-descent engaging in violence or other behavior with the purpose of stirring up racial animosity. Given its contents, Machado’s accounts have repeatedly been removed on various platforms, and he was previously suspended from Twitter in mid-February 2022.
Afonso Gonçalves, the leader of the upstart white nationalist movement Reconquista (Reconquest) (see GPAHE’s reporting on Reconquista here), was also “permanently banned” around October 17th, according to a message that Gonçalves posted to his Telegram account. Gonçalves is particularly known for his vile online comments that target women, immigrants, and people of African descent. Another account that was suspended includes a sympathizer of the Reconquista and Clube Etnico Portuguez groups, that goes by the handle Leviathan1143, with the number referring to the year that Portugal was founded by D. Afonso Henriques and is used by some on the Portuguese far right to assert the homogeneity of the Portuguese people.
A number of accounts linked to the far-right party Chega (Enough) were also removed. Chega supporters, politicians, and election officials have a long history of being suspended from Twitter for breaking with the platform’s terms of service. This includes the party leader André Ventura himself, who claims to have been suspended no less than nine times. This time, the official Chega account on Twitter was temporarily blocked on September 13th for breaking Twitter’s hateful conduct rule and was unable to publish new posts for several days. More recently, the conspiracist João Tilly (Member # 35), the main party advisor, President of Chega in Viseu, and President of the party’s National Council was permanently suspended after October 17th, 2023. Tilly is known for his conspiracist messages on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, and campaigns against vaccination. Another Chega account that was suspended is that of Miguel Lourenço, the ex-Chega candidate for Sabugal City Council in the Guarda district. He was previously suspended from Twitter on February 23rd, 2022. Lourenço is also a TikToker and earlier made news when he used his platform to defame an elected official of the left-wing party Bloco de Esquerda (Left Block) by fabricating audio that appeared to falsely show the official claiming to a reporter that their party could manipulate the media.
Finally, Gonçalo Sousa, the bigoted Chega “influencer” and former candidate for the vice-presidency of the Oeiras City Council, had his account suspended in early October 2023 (see GPAHE’s profile of Sousa here). In a message to Chega supporter João Antunes (no relation to the Chega Juventude leader), he stated that he was “banned forever,” and would “never again be able to have an account on Twitter.” He stated that he had been “censured” for breaking Twitter’s hate speech policy. Sousa is known for his channel on YouTube where he regularly makes racist and bigoted statements against immigrants and other minorities, spreads fear of “population substitution,” spreads disinformation, and resorts to historical revisionism to refurbish the image of the late Portuguese dictator Salazar.