Amid a crackdown on harassment, Twitter has removed the blue verification tick from deliberately provocative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos – self-described supervillian of the internet who was one of the loudest supporters of GamerGate – for apparently breaching its newly updated guidelines around online conduct.
Until last Friday, Milo’s Twitter account was verified with a little blue tick, a step Twitter makes to confirm that highly sought-after accounts (celebrities, politicians, media organisations, journalists, sports stars, religious leaders, etc) are who they say they are, and not an impersonator.
I’ve been sat on the naughty table! pic.twitter.com/2ppJ3X4J62
— Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) January 8, 2016
The thing is, nobody seems to know exactly why he’s been unverified, which raises some fairly big questions on free speech, namely: what exactly caused him to be unverified, and why wasn’t he banned?
You deserve to be harassed you social justice loser https://t.co/iUmMwMVVAT
— Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) December 20, 2015
Milo himself has no idea why, specifically, he’s been unverification, although it doesn’t take a lot of scrolling through his Twitter to get that inflammatory remarks are kinda his thing.
Easiest way to get banned on Twitter: criticise or ridicule feminism or Black Lives Matter. This is political.
— Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) January 9, 2016
When it comes to violating Twitter’s conduct, Milo says that “of course I am not guilty”:
“Twitter refuses to tell me or anyone else why they took my verified badge away,” he said in a statement to Recode. “They told Buzzfeed it was not down to the little stunt I did over Christmas, when I called myself “Social Justice Editor at Buzzfeed“, but instead for something I said. But they won’t tell me what it was. Twitter suspends users all the time but when they do it to someone well-known, it is always a political conservative.
“The 140,000 people who follow me – and, frankly, the rest of Twitter’s users too – deserve an explanation. If Twitter has decided to make partisan political editorial decisions, that’s their prerogative. But they must be honest with the public about it. Otherwise they risk damaging their key users’ reputations with “unverifications” and suspicions that give the false impression of harassment, abuse or some other kind of bad behaviour, of which of course I am not guilty.”
Meanwhile, #JeSuisMilo began trending, because of course it bloody well did.
— Matthew .O Edwards (@LordEdwards95) January 9, 2016
— We Are all Milo Now (@DoktorJeep) January 9, 2016
Bring Back our #Milo
— Elly Marie (@eli_mari78) January 9, 2016