Twitter has permanently suspended Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor at the conservative news outlet Breitbart and one of its most notorious trolls.
The expulsion of Yiannopoulos, who counted more than 300,000 followers on the service, comes just one day after he urged on a hateful mob that harassed ‘Ghostbusters’ actress Leslie Jones to the point that she quit Twitter.
Jones received a barrage sexist and racist messages from users, including fake messages made to look like they came from her account. With little way to fight back, she decided to quit the service on Monday “with tears and a very sad heart.”
The key moment appeared to be when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded to one of Jones’ tweets:
This is far from the first time that Yiannopoulos has courted controversy on Twitter. He became a driving force in GamerGate, which vaulted him to cult future status on certain parts of the internet. He then lost his verification badge, which Twitter typically gives to members of the media and celebrities, in January, which only seemed to amp up his interest in offending Twitter’s management and many who use the service.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Twitter said:
People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of Tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.
We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree. We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders. We have been in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior and allow more types of reporting, with the goal of reducing the burden on the person being targeted. We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.
TechCrunch reached out to Yiannopoulous, but we did not hear back. Yiannopoulos did release a comment via Breibart:
With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives.
Twitter is holding me responsible for the actions of fans and trolls using the special pretzel logic of the left. Where are the Twitter police when Justin Bieber’s fans cut themselves on his behalf?
Like all acts of the totalitarian regressive left, this will blow up in their faces, netting me more adoring fans. We’re winning the culture war, and Twitter just shot themselves in the foot.
This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.