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Twitter bans Milo for good, finally. But what about his goons?

Milo Yiannopoulos: A martyr, in his own mind
Milo Yiannopoulos: A martyr, in his own mind

So Twitter has finally given Milo Yiannopoulos the boot — apparently for good — after the Breitbart “journalist” gleefully participated in, and egged on, a vicious campaign of racist abuse directed at Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones on Twitter earlier this week.

This wasn’t the first time that Milo, formerly known as @Nero, used his Twitter platform — at the time of his suspension he had 338,000 followers — to attack and abuse a popular scapegoat (or someone who merely mocked him online). It wasn’t even the worst example of his bullying.

What made the difference this time? Leslie Jones, who has a bit of a Twitter following herself, refused to stay silent in the face of the abuse she was getting, a move that no doubt increased the amount of harassment sent her way, but one that also caught the attention of the media. And so Milo finally got the ban he has so long deserved.

But what about all those others who participated in the abuse? And the rest of those who’ve turned the Twitter platform into one of the Internet’s most effective enablers of bullying and abuse?

In a statement, Twitter said it was reacting to “an uptick in the number of accounts violating [Twitter’s] policies” on abuse. But as the folks who run Twitter know all too well, the campaign against Jones, as utterly vicious as it was, wasn’t some kind of weird aberration.

It’s the sort of thing that happens every single day on Twitter to countless non-famous people — with women, and people of color, and LGBT folks, and Jews, and Muslims (basically anyone who is not a cis, white, straight, non-Jewish, non-Muslim man) being favorite targets.

Twitter also says that it will try to do better when it comes to abuse. “We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter,” the company said in its statement.

We agree. 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. 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.

This is good news. At least if it’s something more than hot air. Twitter desperately needs better policies to deal with abuse. But better policies won’t mean much if they’re not enforced. Twitter already has rules that, if enforced, would go a long way towards dealing with the abuse on the platform. But they’re simply not enforced.

Right now I don’t even bother reporting Tweets like this, because Twitter typically does nothing about them.

https://twitter.com/Bobcat665/status/735282887965085697

And even when someone does get booted off Twitter for abuse, they often return under a new name — and though this is in direct violation of Twitter’s rules, the ban evaders are so seldom punished for this violation that most don’t even bother to pretend to be anyone other than they are.

Longtime readers here will remember the saga of @JudgyBitch1 and her adventures in ban evasion.

Meanwhile, babyfaced white supremacist Matt Forney’s original account (@realMattForney) was banned some time ago; he returned as @basedMattForney. When this ban evading account was also banned, he got around this ban by starting up yet another ban evading account, under the name @oneMattForney, and did his best to round up as many of his old followers as possible.

https://twitter.com/onemattforney/status/753087810006085634

A few days later, Twitter unbanned his @basedMattForney account.

And here’s yet another banned Twitterer boasting about their success in ban evasion from a new account:

https://twitter.com/_AltRight_Anew/status/755643864036339716

And then there are all the accounts set up for no other reason than to abuse people. Like this person, who set up a new account just so they could post a single rude Tweet to me:

femborg

In case you’re wondering, the one person this Twitter account follows is, yes Donald Trump.

And then there’s this guy, also with an egg avatar, and a whopping three followers, who has spewed forth hundreds of nasty tweets directed mostly at feminists.

Here are several he sent to me, which I’ve lightly censored:

stranger1

And some he’s sent to others.

stbig1 stbig2

So, yeah. Twitter is rotten with accounts like these, set up to do little more than harass. And if they ever get banned, it only takes a few minutes to set up another one.

Milo used his vast number of Twitter followers as a personal army. But you don’t need a lot of followers to do a lot of damage on Twitter. All you really need is an email address and a willingness to do harm.

It’s good that Twitter took down one of the platforms most vicious ringleaders of abuse. But unless Twitter can deal with the small-time goons, with their anime avatars and egg accounts, as well, it will remain one of the Internet’s most effective tools for harassment and abuse.

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Fabe
Fabe
4 years ago

I really must have been away from warmachine for a long time or never really got into the community that deeply because I’ve never noticed any of the toxic stuff talked about here.Yeah I remember the 5 rules of page 5 but I remember them being about playing aggressively while at the same time not being a jerk ,

SpukiKitty
SpukiKitty
4 years ago

I find it hilarious than Milo sees getting banned from Twitter as a triumph! It’s like some weird sour grapes.

“I got totally owned but I won anyway….because….I won! *hurr hurr*”

No, Milo; You lost!

And Leslie Jones is back on Twitter, stronger than ever. She just needed a breather.

Ricardo Valle
Ricardo Valle
4 years ago

Why does ISIS still have a Twitter

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

Don’t know if this is necro-ing or just vigorous CPR, but only place I could think to put this.

Troll who sent, well the usual, to woman MPover here heading to jail.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/27/internet-troll-jail-violent-antisemitic-threats-labour-mp-luciana-berger

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Alan
There’s that word, remand, again. He’s remanded in custody, so that means he’ll await trial in the Newcastle equivalent of Riker’s Island, correct?

Also, I didn’t catch it, what’s the precise charge here? In Murica, that’d probably be called ‘Terroristic Threats’

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ axe

Yeah, although we don’t have separate remand gaols here. Remand prisoners and sentenced prisoners go to the same place (sometimes on different wings though).

He’s actually pleaded guilty so there’ll be no trial. But all cases here start of in the Magistrates Court. That’s a bit like the District Court in some U.S. jurisdictions. If the case is serious though or the Magistrates think their sentencing powers aren’t enough (they can only go up to 6 months for a single offence, or 12 months for multiple offences) then the case gets sent to the Crown Court (bit like the Superior Courts you have in some places over there).

So in this case he’s pleaded guilty to two offences but the magistrates think he should get more than 12 months, so they’ve booted it upstairs.

The charges are offences under our Malicious Communications Act.

That only requires that the communications are grossly offensive or threatening, but you don’t have to show it was for an ideological motive (which you do for most of our terrorism offences)

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Alan
Over here, a terroristic threat is any threat of violence that is meant to terrorize. Doesn’t really matter why. That said, Amendment I makes this a difficult charge to make stick. Often it’s just used to ‘throw the book’ at someone, similar to a resisting arrest charge

‘Did you feel threatened by what was just said, officer?’
‘Why, yes I did, officer.’
*Winks and snickers as they mirandize em*

Anywho, it’s fascinating how much the same common law system can, given 200 years and change of separation and cultural disdain, evolve so differently

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ axe

the same common law system can, given 200 years and change of separation and cultural disdain, evolve so differently

Indeed; although you’d have felt pretty at home up until the 60s. Then we still had Grand Juries (albeit limited in scope), felonies and misdemeanours, pre-emptive challenges to jurors, double jeopardy etc. (we had that last one until quite recently).

As for terrorism, our laws are a bit tighter in that regard. They require targeting the community as a whole or a section of the community for an ideological purpose and an intent to put pressure on the Government.

There’s also a bit of a culture here to avoid calling things terrorism and that’s becoming even more prevalent. As the former director of Counter Terrorism for MI6 said the other night (with Shami Chakrabarti agreeing), “We want to be more like Norway post Brevik and less like the US post 9/11” (no offence!)

In other words we downplay terrorism for a number of reasons. Partly to avoid over-reaction. Although we had a bit of a lull for a while, terrorism has always been part of the background noise, both in the UK and Europe generally (PIRA, ETA, RAF etc.). Even with recent events, terrorism deaths are much lower than they were in the 70s and 80s.

There’s also a view that treating offenders as common criminals (blowing people up, shooting people and general violence have always been crimes of course) it takes the ‘glamour’ out of it a bit. Avoids all that “other man’s freedom fighter” thing.

Malu
Malu
4 years ago

Hi
first of all thanks for keeping track of so much of the bs and still managing to humour the nauseating viciousness and stupidity that is spewed online. It wouldn’t be digestible otherwise.

I do have to heavily disagree with you on this one.
Yes Milo says outrageous things that fit certain groups’ narratives and hence might ‘egg them on’ however, I fail to see that as basis for banning someone. This is free speech censoring.
He is in no way responsible for the actions of his followers. Never (as far as i know) did he say anything such as ‘get her’, as Jones herself has done!
Actions such as this are the very reason for the rise of Trump.
Letting emotions overrule common sense is very dangerous. Everyone needs to bear responsibility for their own actions. Once we allow ‘feelings’ too much power they become the new ‘norm’ instead of common sense. This is what has given the feminism and BLM movement bad names. Some people seem to have lost themselves in a cause so much that they have lost touch with reality(in the sense of a rational overview). Instead of making a good point they exude hate towards the ‘opposition’.
Saying Milo was rightfully banned I see as having gone overboard with rooting for one specific team. And seeing some people joyfully embracing Twitters decision just seems to confirm it. This is free speech censoring, not something anyone should delight in.
Iyad el-Baghdadi tweeted something a few days ago that fits: “The true test of how liberal you are is how vehemently and immediately you stand up for the rights of the people you least agree with.” I think this strongly applies here.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Malu
Hiya, I’m Axe!

This is free speech censoring

No it isn’t

Actions such as this are the very reason for the rise of Trump

The reason for the rise of Trump is 40 years of Southern Strategy demagoguery. Convincing regressive racists and their children that everyone is insufficiently conservative eventually gets you a fascist. Convincing those same people that smart people are nefarious elites gets you an idiot. What is Trump if not a fascist idiot?

Letting emotions overrule common sense is very dangerous

Implying mutual exclusivity

‘feelings’

Don’t put scare quotes around feelings. Don’t

This is what has given the feminism and BLM movement bad names

No it’s not

Saying Milo was rightfully banned I see as having gone overboard with rooting for one specific team

That team being decent human beings

“The true test of how liberal you are…”

I’ll thank people not to test my (small L) liberalism

“…stand up for the rights of the people you least agree with.”

See, you (and Iyad) would have a point if being on Twitter were a right. It ain’t. Never has been, never will be

Armound
Armound
4 years ago

Sorry to necro this comments section

Just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that this whole thing isn’t over. The charlatans at Breitbart are now pulling all kinds of nonsense against Leslie Jones. like saying she was saying all manor of racist and homophobic comments and showing a bunch (of probably fake ) screen shots to prove it .Or bullshitting the idea she has confessed to breaking tweeter rules and all manor of BS.

Breitbart there pettiness knows no bounds. There precious little flower got pwned for his bullying. And they resort to fabricating evidence against her

PS

Her comment about white nonsense was a quote from a sitcom not a racial slur

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