Twitter Unverifies Outspoken Conservative Journalist, Then THIS Happens

Twitter Unverifies Outspoken Conservative Journalist, Then THIS Happens

Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos accused Twitter of removing his verification badge over the outspoken conservative views he often expresses on the social media platform.

On Friday, the conservative, who recently declared an all-out war on ‘social justice’, announced that he was told he had lost his blue checkmark for unspecified “recent violations of the Twitter rules.” He was not told what rule he had violated, nor if there was any appeal procedure.

“I’ve been sat on the naughty table!” Yiannopoulos tweeted before predicting that Twitter is “gearing up to purge conservatives.”

Verified Twitter accounts are typically given to well-known figures as a defense against impersonation.

Yiannopoulos, whose public profile has been soaring since September 2014, was verified in mid-2015 and is the subject of dozens, possibly hundreds, of parody and fan accounts. He is listed on the Drudge Report as one of Matt Drudge’s favorite writers and is one of the rising stars of libertarian and conservative media.

His unverification appears to be the first time a major media personality has been stripped of a blue badge by Twitter, although Twitter banned the conservative journalist Chuck Johnson last May for rules violations.

Yiannopoulos’ followers, however, were not going to stand for it. Many began changing their accounts to use Yiannopoulos’ name and photo, while others tweeted with the “#JeSuisMilo” hashtag which quickly trended in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Scandinavia, Germany, and over a dozen other countries with over 50,000 tweets posted to it.

Within a few hours, it was the #1 top trending topic in the U.K, U.S, and Canada and it trended globally at the #3 spot for several hours.

Breitbart believes that the unverification of their technology editor is effectively declaring war on conservative media by punishing the outspoken commentator for his views.

Twitter’s action on Yiannopoulos comes despite CEO Jack Dorsey declaring that Twitter “stands for freedom of expression” just a few months ago. 

The company has refused to elaborate on why it had taken the popular journalist’s verified status away, although Yiannopoulous firmly believes it was for political reasons.

Hubbard, the Twitter commerce executive, suggested this exchange might have prompted the company’s move:

However, Twitter verification badges simply make you a member of a large, modestly exclusive club. Now, the badge’s removal has given Yiannopoulos a different kind of status.

“If Twitter wanted to delegitimise or marginalise me this was EXACTLY the wrong thing to do,” he wrote in an email, according to BuzzFeed. “They probably thought it would be less of a drama than banning me for my terrible, off-reservation, how-can-a-gay-guy-possibly-say-this opinions. Actually, I’ve had nearly 5,000 new followers in a day, I’ve got speaking requests coming out of my ears and I’m turning into a free speech martyr despite not really losing anything. Free speech is something that all but the most strident cultural authoritarians can get behind, which is why comedians, journalists etc from across the spectrum are lining up to complain about it.”

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