Twitter bans Milo Yiannopoulos, one of its worst trolls

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Twitter has permanently suspended the account of Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, a day after the infamous internet troll helped incite his followers to send a torrent of racist abuse to Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. Twitter confirmed that Yiannopoulos would be kept off its service for good in the future, telling Recode and BuzzFeed that it would find any new account he creates in the future, and suspend it.

In a statement, Twitter alluded about to the abuse directed at Leslie Jones, but didn't refer to Yiannopoulos directly. "People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter," the statement reads. "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."

The service was criticized over its painfully slow reaction to the coordinated racist abuse Leslie Jones faced over the past few days, with the comedian herself calling for stricter guidelines to stamp out hate speech. "We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter," the company's statement reads. "We agree." But while banning one of its most notoriously toxic users is a good first step, Twitter is still vague on what it will actually do to curb the kind of abuse and harassment some of its users face on a daily basis.


Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey followed Jones after she exposed some of the service's worst trolls yesterday, responding directly to a tweet calling for better safeguards, and asking her to DM him "when she had a moment." In today's statement, it suggests where it will go next with those safeguards. "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," the company says. "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."

Yiannopoulos has responded to Twitter's ban, saying that the site has "confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives." He says that the decision will "blow up" in Twitter's face, "netting me more adoring fans."

The Breitbart tech editor had delighted in tormenting other Twitter users for the past few years, using such public attacks to position himself as a figurehead of the GamerGate movement, despite making his disdain for gamers clear in the years before. Previously Twitter responded to his vicious antics by removing his verified status, but allowed him to keep insulting other users and inciting his hundreds of thousands of followers to do the same — albeit without a blue tick. By banning him, Twitter has ensured other users won't need to face his insults directly, but the company will also need to prevent his fervent gang of followers from continuing his rotten legacy.

Update July 19th, 11:15PM ET: Added statement from Yiannopoulos.

Comments

Not really, he didn’t anything wrong to be permanently banned. We’re living in Communist country now?

Where do you wanna start, what he did or what you seem to think communism is?

Not really, he didn’t anything wrong to be permanently banned.

Due to his large number of followers the standard of behavior he was expected to maintain was greater than that of a typical user.

Yet, he still harassed numerous people, which encouraged his followers to harass them as well.

That’s against ToS and grounds for having your account banned.

The issue isn’t that he was banned (he deserved it), the issue is that there are many more people actively harassing others on Twitter with no repercussions because they are either friends with Twitter management, or they harassing the "right" people.

I support cleaning up the trolls, however Twitter need to be mindful of applying the same rules across the board.

Because Twitter is a branch of the government? It’s a private company and can set it’s own standards and rules of use.

First:
Inciting hate speech is not a protected right.

Second:
Twitter is a private entity and can set any rules they wish on censorship they want, for whatever reason they want. There is no government laws in almost any western world that state that a private entity must honour, or enforce complete freedom of speech and expression.

Thirdly: "communist country"… really? to compare banning someone who has a history of racism, and intollerance from a web service to a country that committed genocides, and regular executions over it’s own people for such minor things like questioning leadership is poor taste, bad form, and makes you look like you have no grasp on reality.

"Inciting hate speech is not a protected right."

False, there is no "hate speech" exception to the 1st Amendment. As vile as hate speech may be, being offended by speech is subjective and differs from person to person. In order for hate speech to be a crime, you would literally have to decide what words are hate speech and then make it illegal to us them.

As vile as hate speech may be, being offended by speech is subjective and differs from person to person.

Hate speech can be universally understood by everyone, even if it doesn’t pertain to you.

Only an asshole who engages in it would say otherwise.

"Only an asshole who engages in it would say otherwise."

Really, I’m engaging in hate speech? No, hate speech is not universally understood by everyone as evidenced by your unfounded, knee jerk, emotionally driven charge that I’m a racist. The fact that you can’t control you emotions and immediately resort to insults just reinforces the fact that what is considered hate speech can be subjective and heavily driven by emotional response. If "hate speech" isn’t protected by the 1st Amendment, who decides what words constitute hate speech? If you are going to make it illegal to speak certain words, then the issue becomes bigger than simply stamping out what you perceive to be hateful language, it becomes about stamping out free speech altogether.

In order for hate speech to be a crime, you would literally have to decide what words are hate speech and then make it illegal to us them.

why do i have to play fact checker on everything?

http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/may/07/chris-cuomo/cnns-chris-cuomo-first-amendment-doesnt-cover-hate/

You already have to do that. Freedom of speech doesn’t cover threats, or "fighting words" (a term that of course, must be defined.) or Child pornogrophy.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fighting_words

Just for future reference, Chris Cuomo probably isn’t the best example to cite.

Taken from the article you linked:
"Cuomo later clarified his position and said he was referring to the type of hate speech that falls under unprotected categories — specifically citing the 1941 Supreme Court ruling in Chaplinsky vs. New Hampshire, which excluded fighting words from the First Amendment."

"Even with this clarification, Weinstein said Cuomo’s argument isn’t without holes. If a statute bans hate speech, it has to be because it counts as a threat or fighting words — not simply because it is hate speech. This may seem like a slight nuance, but it’s important."

Cuomo made a baseless statement and then tried to walk it back after he got called out on it. There is a difference between speech that willfully insights violence against another and speech that expresses hateful sentiment towards another individual or group. As much as you and I might disapprove of "hate speech" it is still protected under the 1st Amendment. Banning speech, because someone finds it hateful is slippery slope as what one finds offensive can be very subjective and is often driven by emotion. As you’ve stated in previous responses to my posts "context matters". The courts go back and forth on the exact nature of "fighting words", however one thing is clear, calling someone a racial epithet is protected under the 1st Amendment.

Just for future reference, Chris Cuomo probably isn’t the best example to cite.

probably not, if I was trying to say all hate speech isn’t protected. the thing is; i didn’t. I was responding to your statement:

In order for hate speech to be a crime, you would literally have to decide what words are hate speech and then make it illegal to us them.

which is literally already the case. You can’t use "fighting words" which is hilariously more vague than hate speech. Thanks for going on a tangent on the article i gave you, that has nothing to do with the point I was making.

No it’s not the case at all and the only one close to going on tangents is you..I haven’t strayed from my point. Courts, no matter how confused they are on the definition of "fighting words" already agree that "hate speech" is not the same thing as "fighting words". As far as I can tell courts are handling this on a case by case basis and there is no cut and dry list of words that qualify as hate speech simply by uttering them or putting them in print, nor should there be. The intent of the use of the words seems to be the deciding factor in determining whether they fall under the broad scope of "fighting words". If you want to make hate speech a crime, you will have to determine exactly what constitutes hate speech and that is extremely subjective to the emotional state of someone claiming offense. At that you point you are talking about banning words based on someone’s emotional state. Who decides what words are offensive an what constitutes and offense? No matter how you spin it, hate speech is protected by the 1st Amendment as long as it is not intended to insight violence against another, at which point it is no longer simply "hate speech", but "fighting words".

Courts, no matter how confused they are on the definition of "fighting words" already agree that "hate speech" is not the same thing as "fighting words".

Please give me the trials you’re making up talking about. You don’t even know how "fighting words" is supposed to be interpreted (it is explained)

If you want to make hate speech a crime, you will have to determine exactly what constitutes hate speech and that is extremely subjective to the emotional state of someone claiming offense. At that you point you are talking about banning words based on someones emotional state.

this is again, for the 3rd time, already the case, with "fighting words" which again, is more vague.

sigh

Do you even know what point it is that you’re trying to make, because it seems as if words are just falling out of your mouth?

it’s not my fault you don’t understand that fighting words is actually a more vague term (any insult can qualify if it makes you want to fight technically, read the citations i’ve posted for you)

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fighting_words

see, it’s literally already defined: "Words which would likely make the person whom they are addressed commit an act of violence."

I’ve explained it very plainly. You’ve dismissed it because you’re pushing a narrative, and prefer to be manipulative with posts rather than just coming out and saying what you think.

Keep digging, i’ll gladly expose you.

Enlighten me, what narrative have I been pushing?

Let me dumb it down for you since the intellectual/moral high ground you seem to be claiming evidently isn’t all that high.

The point I’ve stated time and time again it thus:

1. Not matter how much you want it to, hate speech doesn’t = fighting words.
2. Hate speech is protected by the 1st Amendment. If you can’t understand the need for this in the larger context of free speech, then you probably never will and this conversation is pointless.

1. Not matter how much you want it to, hate speech doesn’t = fighting words.

wrong in one, if the hate speech makes someone want to fight, it auto qualifies. How hard is that?

2. Hate speech is protected by the 1st Amendment. If you can’t understand the need for this in the larger context of free speech, then you probably never will and this conversation is pointless.

unless that hate speech makes someone want to fight. I’m someone, get it now?

as for agenda, you’re defending trump.

There’s a difference between "making" someone want to fight and telling someone to fight. See now?

i posted the exact definition above, and have been using it correctly. smh.

I can’t directly speak for US laws.

But in Canada, "freedom of expression" is not unlimited. There is in our criminal code, laws against hate speach.

The constitution, and even Canada’s Charter are not universally applied, but apply to government agencies only. Private entities do not have to hold themselves to the constitution.

The US is similar in this regard, and the freedom of speech clause in our constitution equally only applies to government institutions and has many many qualifiers that have come up over the years including obscenity exclusions, inciting violence, child pornography, etc.

The real crux here is that it is not a protected right in the sense we are talking about. It is protected from government interference. This has nothing to do with the government and thus really has nothing to do with the 1st amendment.

Consistently inciting harassment isn’t enough to be permanently banned?

It’s a corporation, not a public space. Don’t be a commie. /s

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