CLEVELAND — Conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos said he plans to fight back against Twitter for permanently banning him from using the social media platform.
Yiannopoulos, an openly-gay editor at the conservative news website Breitbart, was seemingly banned Tuesday night for targeting “Ghostbusters” actor and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Leslie Jones earlier in the week. The tweets from Yiannopoulos and his followers ultimately convinced Jones to leave the social media platform.
In an interview with Business Insider at his Republican National Convention party Tuesday night, Yiannopoulos slammed Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.
“He just sent a very clear message to the entire user base of Twitter, which is if you belief in mischief and dissidence and fun and free speech, you’re not welcome on Twitter,” Yiannopoulos said.
“If you’re going to make jokes about the wrong people, you’re not welcome on Twitter,” he added. “If you’re a columnist with the wrong politics, even a gay conservative who decides he doesn’t like a movie and makes a few jokes, you’re not welcome on Twitter.”
When asked whether he would fight the ban, Yiannopoulos said he had a plan.
“I’m going to make their lives hell,” he said. “I’m going to make them wish they’d never started a company. Because they deserve it.”
Yiannopoulos called the ban a “critical mistake” on behalf of the platform.
“There is always a moment in the history of social networks, one thing, one critical mistake that on its own doesn’t look huge but embodies every one of the mistakes that company has been making and ultimately comes to be seen as sort of the turning point,” Yiannopoulos said. “Twitter just did it.”
Twitter has faced accusations that it doesn’t do enough to prevent abuse on its site. The company now appears to be cracking down on what it views as the use of its platform to incite abuse against others.
“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter,” Twitter said in a statement provided to Business Insider. “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.”
The company added: “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.”
Twitter said it was “in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behaviour” and would provide more details soon.
BuzzFeed posted screen shots of a couple of Yiannopoulos’ tweets targeting Jones, which insulted her work and her intelligence.
“If at first you don’t succeed (because your work is terrible), play the victim,” he tweeted on July 18, including a link to one of Jones’ tweets. “EVERYONE GETS HATE MAIL FFS.”
He said in another tweet, responding to a tweet from Jones that included a typo, “Barely literate. America needs better schools!”
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