Charlie Warzel, reporting for BuzzFeed:
Twitter has banned one of its most notoriously contentious voices.
On Tuesday evening, the microblogging service permanently
suspended the account of conservative commentator Milo
Yiannopoulos, a day after he incited his followers to bombard
Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones with racist and demeaning
“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on
Twitter,” a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to
BuzzFeed News. “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.”
This is being framed by Yiannopoulos’s supporters as suppression of free speech. These people are very confused about free speech. It’s simple: Yiannopoulos has the right to say and write whatever he wants. But Twitter is not a public resource. In the same way that a coffee shop or restaurant should never allow someone (let alone a mob of people) to harass other patrons, Twitter should not allow it on their service.
So kudos to Twitter for standing up to this troll. But it shouldn’t take a celebrity to drive Twitter to action. Twitter needs to systematically boot harassers at every level.
★ Wednesday, 20 July 2016