Twitter permanently banned conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from its platform Tuesday night, according to a report, prompting immediate accusations that the social-media giant was suppressing free speech.
“The account you are trying to view has been suspended,” a message read when users attempted to access the Breitbart editor’s account.
BuzzFeed reported that Yiannopoulos had “gone too far” this week with tweets targeting “Ghostbusters” actor Leslie Jones. The tweets from Yiannopoulos and his followers ultimately convinced Jones to leave the social media platform.
“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter,” Twitter said in a statement to BuzzFeed. “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.
A representative for Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. Neither did Yiannopoulos.
Many users started to tweet with the “#FreeMilo” hashtag.
An hour before the Milo’s biggest party of the #RNCinCLE TWITTER SUSPENDS HIM!! WOW
The ban came one month after Twitter briefly suspended Yiannopoulos with no explanation.
Yiannopoulos has a history with Twitter. Earlier this year, the social-media giant ignited a firestorm of controversy when it removed his blue verified badge. Yiannopoulos alleged it was due to a satirical comment he made on feminism. Twitter declined to explain the move.
Chuck Johnson, a controversial conservative blogger who was also permanently banned from Twitter, told Business Insider that he predicted Twitter would ban Yiannopoulos.
“I told Milo that he would be next,” he said. “And now he is.”
Milo Yiannopoulos is a regular columnist for Business Insider. You can read his past columns here.
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