There’s another reason nobody is talking about for Twitter’s banning of controversial gay conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos (user @nero on twitter). If you need the background on this, it’s below. The unmentioned reason is commercial.
The stated reason for Milo’s banning from Twitter is that he “led” a crowd in online abuse against a thin-skinned actor. There’s no real evidence for that, there was abuse, but to say Milo is responsible for the actions of all his followers is ridiculous.
So the conservative and right-wing media is screaming that there is a bias at work here. There surely is (and pro-Israel people see this acting against them all the time too), but there’s another commercial reason here too, in addition to the fact that a major shareholder in Twitter is from Saudi Arabia.
It’s clear movie promotion represents a huge part of Twitter’s monetization strategy. They need the big entertainment companies to promote their movies on Twitter and pay for that. The movie companies need their movie stars to operate (or have operated for them) Twitter accounts to interact and promote movies. By violating the “safe space” of Leslie Jones, Milo directly threatens the chance loss-making Twitter can ever make money.
I haven’t seen anyone add this to the public debate.
There’s a huge problem with all the current commercial social networks. There’s room for something much better. Twitter is controlled by a clique that is naturally against Israel and against honest advocates for Israel. It has huge money issues so it’s open to being bought or heavily influenced by, for example, Saudi money. It’s going to be a non-safe space for #ExMuslims for exactly the same reasons. And as I’ve said here before, Facebook is going to have very similar policies.
If you need some more background, you can’t understand the story by reading the main stream media, you’re better off with this blog post by Ann Althouse which explains the problem:
Something’s missing from this. It begins:
For years, one of the main grievances among Twitter users has been the ability for anonymous trolls to send abusive comments to other people on the service.
Yiannopoulos isn’t anonymous, so I begin puzzled. And “troll” and “abusive” are vague, abstract words. The next sentence is:
But on Tuesday, Twitter barred one of the most egregious and consistent offenders of its terms of service, Milo Yiannopoulos, in an attempt to show that it is cracking down on abuse.
So I’m thinking I’ll want to know, specifically, what terms of service Yiannopoulos is thought to have violated and what were his “egregious” and “consistent” violations. Also, Twitter seems to be accused of using Yiannopoulos for show. Has he been singled out because of his visibility or because the people he’s bothered are the ones Twitter wants to cause to think it’s really doing something?
The ban against Mr. Yiannopoulos, a technology editor at the conservative news site Breitbart and known by his Twitter handle, @Nero, follows a campaign of prolonged abuse against Leslie Jones, a comedian and co-star of the recently released “Ghostbusters” movie….. Hundreds of anonymous Twitter commenters hurled racist and sexist remarks at the star’s Twitter account, rallied and directed by Mr. Yiannopoulos this week. The news media picked up on the abuse after Ms. Jones began retweeting screenshots of the litany of comments sent to her over the past few days.
She ends her blog post with this entirely reasonable request.
Could someone just quote the Yiannopoulos tweets in question? Does Twitter mean to say that if one user expresses hate for a particular celebrity, he’ll be held responsible for the way other users express hate for that celebrity? That’s not a workable policy. Think of all the big-time Twitter users who express hate for Donald Trump and the lesser users who come out with obscenities and true threats? Twitter wouldn’t kick them all out.
The rest of the New York Times article referenced doesn’t provide any real evidence of what Milo did wrong, because he didn’t really do what they say he did.
Here’s my tweet pointing out that Hamas is allowed an account on Twitter, but not an outrageous gay man. The #FreeMilo hashtag trended worldwide until it was obviously removed from Twitter. The rate of new tweets didn’t diminish.
— 🇮🇱Dr Brian of London (@brianoflondon) July 20, 2016
This video by Paul Joseph Watson pretty much sums up the right wing and conservative views on his banning.
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