At this point, Twitter should change its name to Troller.

Adland: 

If you ask pro-Gamergaters what gamergate is about, they'll tell you "ethics in journalism". In fact that phrase became a meme, it was repeated so often. If you ask most journalists what gamergate is about, they'll tell you it's slut-shaming Zoe Quinn and harassing Brianna Wu, and Anita Sarkeesian, and a major movement to exclude all women from gaming.

If you had asked one specific journalist, Milo Yiannopoulos who is the Associate Editor at Breitbart London, about Gamergate he would have told you that it's about collusion in games journalism. He has uncovered that a GamesJournosPro email list, and covered that here, and here.

Now, Milo Yiannopoulos' official twitter account @Nero is suspended. He's had a personal account since 25 March 2007, called @Caligula which he is using now. I've contacted both Mr Yiannopoulos and twitter's Press Team to ask about this particular suspension. Only Milo Yiannopoulos has gotten back to me, and confirmed that there's no warning when your account is suspended.

Milo wrote this on Business Insider in May, about the ease of twitter suspensions and how they too often fall on journalists: "Here’s something I learned during my research: to silence critics, narcissists and fraudsters are abusing the harassment procedures on social networks, designed to protect abuse victims, on an industrial scale. So it was with Jeremy Duns, who was looking into Ansar’s prolific sockpuppetry and suddenly found his Twitter account suspended. Too often, victims of suspensions are journalists conducting legitimate inquiries."

Well known feminist journalists regularly get their accounts suspended as well, Victoria Brownworth seen tweeting under the name of @Vabvox was suspended several times in one month when the toxic twitter wars on Feminism raged back in January this year. Ironically, Twitter has just teamed up with the advocacy group Women Action to quell abuse on twitter, and it's possible that this group is the one that got a journalist suspended. @womenactmedia are credited with the suspension, via university student (according to his twitter profile) Samuel Stringman. I have not spoken to this person, but this is his tweet: (edit - This tweeter is being disingenuous. To be clear on this issue, multiple accounts are allowed per user See the actual TOS. So for example @adland and @dabitch are both run by myself.)

Dabs: What activity has the @Nero account had in the past few days? Have you for example, been promoting a link heavily or done anything that an algorithm might false positive flag as "spamming"?
Milo Yiannopoulos: I post salty tweets all the time. Sometimes people get upset. But if you're going to start banning people for having opinions or telling jokes, you may as well shut the network down. I've never spammed or been abusive, obviously.

Dabs: What steps are available to you to get your twitter account reinstated?
Milo Yiannopoulos: It's really hard. Twitter doesn't provide much in the way of feedback. Fortunately, as a member of the press, I have a couple of contacts there so fingers crossed. But a regular member of the public maliciously suspended would be at a loss.

Dabs: Have twitter responded to you at all?
Milo Yiannopoulos: I've had an automated response to my dispute and one of Twitter's press team has been in touch, yes.

What hope is there for a platform that s the main distribution tool for islamist snuff videos and organisation of terrorists cells, who seem to concentrate their efforts on banning journalists in the English speaking world? Twitter is now being used as the major PR outreach channel
by the likes of Adobe who promoted their anti-bullying film on it and made all official statements from twitter - replacing the direct contact between journalists and the brand. What if a brand gets banned on twitter as easily as a journalist? Perhaps brands can buy their way into protection, buying $15,000 worth of twitter ads will get you a verified account. I find it very interesting that there's a simple autoblocker for Gamergate people, chock full off false positives as it's based on anyone following 2 out of 5 names, @Nero being one of those names, yet there's no way for me to avoid images of decapitated children when ISIS rages in Mosul. If I'm underage, I can't see any alcohol brands, but I may follow as many pro-terrorists accounts as I wish.

Twitter has long been the default megaphone for brands, marketing industry press has sprung up around covering branded faux pas on the network, but it's not your network. It's twitters. Which means twitter can shut your account down at any moment, as they are in control. Or turn around and charge you extra to reach your own followers, like Facebook did. Brands may want to dust off their self-hosted blogs again to be able to openly communicate to the world on a platform that is their own.


Update 12:38 CET - the twitter account @Nero has been reinstated, though it currently lacks all of the followers it once had. They'll likely be added soon as well. This is the same pattern I saw happening to Vabvox and other active journalists during the feminist twitter wars in January. Twitter has still not responded to my request for comment.


It's not only on twitter where Milo Yiannopoulos is getting grief. Yiannopoulos tweets that he has been receiving disturbing items in the mail ever since he began writing on Gamergate. Today it was a small dead animal of some kind.

Comments (14)

  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    The Goatse Security guys! Much fun! It's pretty clear from him referring to a non-existant rule in twitter's TOS that he's disingenuous.

    Nov 11, 2014
  • libbillau's picture
    libbillau

    His tweet about Google+ being underappreciated did kinda sound like a Turing test flunk-out

    Nov 12, 2014
  • ConcernedCoconut's picture
    ConcernedCoconut (not verified)

    TheMarySue isn't a journalistic outlet, it can barely be called a blog.

    It's more like a 12 year old girl's facebook page that has been given additional writers and unnecessary legitimacy.

    Nov 11, 2014
  • libbillau's picture
    libbillau

    Until the other members of her Feels Team 6 dispute who actually pulled the trigger

    Nov 12, 2014
  • DrPizza's picture
    DrPizza (not verified)

    Nothing in this article substantiates the headline.

    Nov 11, 2014
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Correct. The wrong headline appeared on the article. It has been changed.

    Nov 11, 2014
  • Chris's picture
    Chris (not verified)

    What "decapitated children"? You mean the children that American bombers have killed?

    Nov 13, 2014
  • Zimriel's picture
    Zimriel (not verified)

    @twitter, #junk. Thus saith S&P.

    The math doesn't lie. It never does.

    Nov 14, 2014

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about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm after growing up in Kiruna, Raleigh and Jiddah.