Since Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ permanent ban from Twitter, the media has gone into a divided frenzy. A number of mainstream media outlets rejoiced at the suppression of Yiannopoulos’ voice, but many also agreed that the social network had just made a very big mistake. Here are some of the highlights.
“Breitbart bad boy Milo not silenced by Twitter ban” – Fox News
“Twitter’s decision to ban a prominent conservative commentator has reignited debate over whether progressive-leaning social media companies can serve as impartial moderators of political discourse” – Washington Times
“Obviously, a Twitter ban is orders of magnitude less serious than a criminal conviction, whatever the pro-Yiannopoulos #FreeMilo hashtag implies. But it’s not nothing. Just as we shouldn’t tell harassment victims to “just log off” the internet, we shouldn’t pretend that being kicked off a platform with millions of users doesn’t cut you off from some part of modern public life, and Twitter should be careful with the power it’s got” – The Verge
“Twitter won’t solve its harassment problem by banning one jerk… Yiannopoulos’s initial tweet was not racist, just insulting” – Yahoo
“Yiannopoulos might well be a disagreeable prat, but banning him from social media will do more to whip up those whose postings really do go beyond the pale than his continued presence ever could. His voice and his ability to be heard extend beyond the confines of the Twittersphere – hard though that may be for Jack Dorsey to believe… But by enabling ostentatious rabble-rousers like Yiannopoulos to present themselves as martyrs in the cause of liberty, there is a danger that Twitter shifts the focus away from their misdemeanours, instead of holding a mirror to them” – The Independent
“Banning Milo From Twitter Is a Super Bad Idea… Banning Milo is like burning a witch and then saying you’ve done something about the plague… Like a Mafia don in a friendly, minimum-security prison, Milo will have no problem ordering his legions from exile. In fact, his street cred has now improved” – PC Mag
“Milo Yiannopoulos says his ‘Ghostbusters’-related Twitter ban is ‘the most gigantic possible gift'” – LA Times
“Though conservative media personality Milo Yiannopoulos has been permanently banned from Twitter, he pointed out that the social media platform still is not policing vulgarity and violent content from the Islamic State and Black Lives Matter with the same vigor” – Washington Examiner
“While the 32-year-old has developed a reputation for testing the boundaries as the voice of a growing anti-feminist, “alt-right” movement, Twitter’s permanent suspension of Yiannopoulos is a ridiculous and unjustified decision, which will initiate a major war over free speech” – News.com.au
“Lots of people, even those on the left, would argue that even hateful speech deserves the opportunity to have a platform – when others have the choice not to listen. Although Twitter’s definition of what constitutes one user’s abuse of another on its service is famously whimsical, and its crude block and mute tools still put the onus on individuals to ensure their own good experience, users do generally have some control over what they are exposed to” – Leigh Alexander, The Guardian
“The decision to unperson Yiannopoulos was done in secret in some hidden Twitter office, no doubt one with cheerful Twitter blue birds on every wall. His “suspension” was retroactive: His past posts—virtually all of which were once regarded as acceptable—have been vanished just as much as any problematic ones.
It is unclear which was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Nor is it clear which were the past straws. Twitter’s only statement regarding Yiannopolous’s ban was a reiteration of its terms of service, which is akin to reading the criminal code aloud when someone is accused of a crime. There is, however, a very profound difference here. Twitter does not have a Soviet monopoly on the media. It is still largely open to criticism, both on the platform itself and in other venues. This is not a First Amendment issue. But it still remains, quite obviously, an issue” – The Observer
“Twitter Stopped One Troll. It Has No Plan for the Rest” – The Daily Beast
“In banning Yiannopoulos, Twitter may have prevented him from easily galvanizing his hundreds of thousands of followers against his targets. But Twitter has also emboldened Milo’s status as a martyr for free speech and anti-censorship, the public face of an angry, white political class that thinks of itself as persecuted victims in an era of political correctness” – Mic
“Whatever your opinions on Milo, he represented a line in the sand for free speech. An ability to freely broadcast controversial, offensive, sometimes wrongheaded opinions on social media. His suspension will no doubt be disconcerting to free speech advocates and far right Twitter shitposters everywhere” – Heat Street