January 12, 2016
My top new year’s prediction was that 2016 would be the year of the great clampdown, when both governments and private companies make a huge push to shut down politically incorrect speech.
Like all my predictions ever, this is coming true. Gamergate icon and Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos had his “verified” status removed from his Twitter account.
This was an especially sloppy choice for a first target. Sure, Milo is a misogynist shitlord, chan-user and suspected racist, but he is also a charismatic gentleman and incidentally a dick-loving homo.
Twitter’s new crusade against violent speech was a hot topic this weekend.
The company has gone after a popular — albeit controversial — Twitter user. It revoked the “verified” status of Milo Yiannopoulos, a British journalist at Breitbart News, on Friday evening.
On Friday evening, Yiannopoulos tweeted a screenshot of an email from Twitter stating that his verification had been revoked. “I’ve been sat at the naughty table!” he wrote.
The screenshot, which Twitter told CNNMoney is valid, states that additional violations on his part could result in being removed from the platform all together.
“I think this is the first step to getting me off the platform,” he told CNNMoney on Sunday. “Ridicule and criticism are being re-branded abuse and harassment.”
Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) announced on December 29 that it was taking new measures to combat posts that included “abusive behavior and hateful conduct.” The platform has been criticized for allowing abuse, harassment and even death threats.
Yiannopoulos insists that his posts aren’t serious.
“They don’t like the jokes I make so they’re coming at me,” he said, adding that he’s unsure what specifically he said to offend Twitter. “I’m a provocateur, a satirist.”
Prominent Silicon Valley figures — from Uber investor Jason Calacanis to venture capitalist Marc Andreessen — have tweeted about Twitter policing Yiannopoulos and, subsequently, free speech.
Others see it differently. One user referred to Yiannopoulos as a “known misogynist harasser.”
Game developer Brianna Wu tweeted, “Thanks @Twitter, for holding Milo accountable for harassment, being clear more will lead to permanent suspension.”
Yiannopoulos said he reached out to Twitter twice to understand what the company is reacting to. He received no response. Twitter told CNNMoney that it doesn’t comment on individual user accounts but referred to its terms and conditions, which state an account may lose its verified status if it violates the company’s rules or terms of service.
(Twitter verifies the accounts of select journalists, celebrities and public figures. Users receive a small blue check by their handle, indicating that the account is authentic, potentially helping spread their message to a wider audience.)
“Twitter only wants to host one side of the discussion,” Yiannopoulos said. “It’s now become an ideological weapon to indicate the sort of person they want on the platform.”
Yiannopoulos said he’s gained over 7,000 new followers in the last 24 hours — and a hashtag, #JeSuisMilo, which he said was trending in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. over the weekend.
That number has since gone up to 20,000 new followers in the last 30-odd hours.
What is the Plan Here, Exactly?
This was a bizarre move on a number of different levels.
Most obviously, Milo is a weird figure to pick as a first target. Not just because he’s a homo (though that does seem problematic), but because he isn’t widely hated. He is only hated by a pretty small group of feminists who are obsessed with #gamergate. Though it is those specific feminists – Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, (tranny) Brianna Wu, etc. – who have been shouting the loudest about shutting down free speech on Twitter.
It looks to me as though they asked these whiners who they hated the most, and they gave a list, and Milo was the only one with verified status.
Removing verified status is in itself a weird move, but it provides a “warning” system – they wouldn’t be able to “warn” people without verified status in the way they “warned” Milo.
You would just imagine they would have had analysts who they could call up and ask what the overall response to this would be, and then have chosen some other way to clamp-down on freedom.
They obviously want to do it incrementally, but you’d think banning outright Nazis would be a good first step. Though they already banned yours truly for mocking the idiot Blacks.
Twitter is stuck between a rock and a hard place, but they are going to push through and remove all of the dissenting elements from their platform, turn the whole place into a hug-box for SJWs.
Facebook, Reddit, YouTube and others will be doing the same thing this year, I’m quite certain. Take note that this opens up an opportunity for independent platforms to rise. Right now, the default choice seems to be Russia’s VK, as they will pretty much let you say whatever you want.