Claim: Twitter at War with Conservatives – #JeSuisMilo


twitterMeanwhile over at Breitbart, a very right-wing conservative outlet, we have the rather strange claim that Twitter has an “open war against Conservatives” (yes, those are their words, that is the title). They write some quite weird stuff…

Just as the value of its stock has dipped to an all-time low, it has picked a fight with conservative and libertarian users on its own platform. This marks a low point for a social media company that has spent the last year alienating its own users.

… The company now faces a sustained revolt from the most dedicated of its conservative and culturally libertarian users — and, most likely, more negative media coverage too. Its brand will be hurt: yet more unwelcome news for investors, who already have much to be concerned about.

… Twitter is also no longer a friend to the politically downtrodden around the world.

What has happened is something that they are claiming is on par with with the brutal murder of innocent cartoonists by violent religious thugs …

The #JeSuisMilo revolt, however, was a long time coming. Anger at Twitter had been building amidst a large and vocal segment of the platform’s userbase for some time. Almost every change Twitter has made to its service over the past year has served to turn more users against it.

So what did Twitter do that is on par with Murder?

Prepare to be truly shocked … if you have any young children in the room, then you need to encourage them to leave because what follows is so deeply shocking that it apparently has the entire conservative universe quite convinced that Twitter is now at war with them …

… and the hideous crime that has been perpetuated by twitter is that …

(insert drum roll here)

… they have removed a blue tick mark of verification against the Twitter account of Milo Yiannopoulos, the Technology Editor for Breitbart.com, and explained that they had done so because he had broken their rules …

deverified

… and that’s it in its entirety, that is the supposed “War on conservative” that is supposedly on par with murder.

So he still has his twitter account, and he can still happily tweet his insane bizarre tweets. The only challenge is that without the verification mark nobody can now work out which tweets are actually his, and which are simply satire and parody.

Yes, he really is crazy enough to be indistinguishable from parody, and that in itself might explain why they removed his blue tick – in other words, Poe’s law kicks in.

What Is Really Going on?

He is not being specifically targeted because he is right-wing, but rather because Twitter have been tightening up their rules on hostile and offensive behaviour. The Guardian explains …

At the end of last year, in a post entitled “Fighting Abuse to Protect the Freedom of Expression”, Twitter announced a change in the language regarding abusive speech, and published new guidelines for the removal and moderation of hostile and offensive behaviour on the platform.

Comparing the Twitter Rules to those on the site a year ago, the scope and also the tone have changed significantly. “Violence and threats” were in 2014 dealt with in one line, “Targeted Abuse” in five. Now “Violent threats” has been amended to mean direct or indirect threats and clearly covers the threat or promotion “of terrorism”. A section has been added on “Hateful Conduct”. The rules here are the most broad: “You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.” 

If curious, you can find the rules here.

If indeed “Conservative values” means being on par with “Hateful Conduct”, and merits some attention from Twitter, and that attention is actually a gentle slap on the wrist and is more akin to being made to sit on the naughty step (remember, this twit can and does still happily tweet away, so this is not a free speech issue at all), then clearly this is not a “war on Conservatives”, nor is it on par with murder, but rather is an ever so subtle hint that Milo might perhaps be wise to seriously consider re-examining the ethics contained within his “Conservative values”.

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