Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) CEO Jack Dorsey and WikiLeaks have traded harsh words since Twitter’s recent decision to ban noted Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. On Wednesday, WikiLeaks’ Twitter account stated that the ban is an example of “cyber feudalism” and that the micro-blogging giant banned conservative gay libertarian (Yiannopoulos) for speaking the “wrong” way to Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.
Is Twitter partial towards celebrities?
Yiannopoulos was banned for “engaging or inciting targeted abuse or harassment of others” after the Ghostbusters star started posting examples of misogynist and racist abuse she received on the social network, according to an earlier statement from Twitter. Dorsey soon replied that they do not ban people for expressing their thoughts, but targeted abuse and inciting abuse against people is not allowed.
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At first, WikiLeaks was comparing the banning of people on the micro-blogging site to Stalin’s Great Purge in 1937 and the recent mass arrests in Turkey. Then WikiLeaks threatened the company with creating its own alternative Twitter.
“We will start a rival service if this keeps up because @WikiLeaks & our supporters are threatened by a space of feudal justice,” it said.
WikiLeaks indicated a number of legitimate issues with the ban despite the fact that describing the ban as “cyber feudalism” does not make much sense. Many people have noticed that the micro-blogging giant seems to police abuse more strictly when the target is a celebrity, and this is why the ban was not transparent.
More tools needed
In its defense though, the social network said Yiannopoulos was banned partly because he has been censured on the platform before. People have suggested that the company should concentrate on tools that would make it harder to harass people in the first place rather than banning them after the deed is done. In fact, Dorsey agreed that these are all fair points, and they are working to get there.
For Twitter, the best way to stop abuse is to build tools that would allow its users to pick who they want to communicate with and then facilitate that as openly as possible. This threat by WikiLeaks is obviously just a throwaway quip, but “it’s worth preemptively shooting down the idea that the symbolic effort would be worth taking seriously,” states The Verge.
On Thursday, Twitter shares closed down 0.92% at $18.39. Year to date, the stock is down more than 17% while in the last year, it is down more than 48%.