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Twitter Permanently Banned One of Its Worst Trolls

Twitter Permanently Banned One of Its Worst Trolls

By Maggie Mallon

Twitter just took a major step in its efforts to curtail online bullying: The social media service banned notorious troll Milo Yiannopoulos, who also serves as the technology editor at conservative news site Breitbart.

Yiannopoulos, who operated under the handle @Nero, was a driving force behind the recent racist, sexist attack on actress and comedian Leslie Jones, who stars in the new Ghostbusters remake. Since being announced in 2015, the film has been an object of scorn for countless anonymous Twitter users, many of whom objected to reviving the 1984 original with an all-female cast. The theatrical release of the film last week prompted a whole new deluge of hate, this time directed at Jones. Jones publicly shared many of the horrific messages she received before announcing her departure from Twitter entirely on Tuesday night.

Following this, Twitter took action to put a stop to the abuse and suspended Yiannopoulos' account due to his role in provoking the attack (he was also a catalyst behind the Gamergate scandal, which saw a series of similarly sexist attacks launched against women in the video game industry) In a statement on the Breitbart website, Yiannopoulos spoke out against his suspension, saying, "This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter."

Twitter, however, announced plans to further combat similarly hateful and bigoted rhetoric that's long plagued its site. In a statement to TechCrunch, the social media company said:

"People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Over the past 48 hours in particular, we've seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of Tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension."

"We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree. We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it's happening and prevent repeat offenders. We have been in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior and allow more types of reporting, with the goal of reducing the burden on the person being targeted. We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks."

Though this is definitely a step in the right direction, here's hoping that Twitter continues to put in some serious work to end the constant stream of vile tweets that torment its users.

More From Glamour:
• Leslie Jones Fights Back Against Disgusting Racist Attacks on Twitter
• Calvin Harris Just Went on a Twitter Rant About Taylor Swift
• Zendaya Just Shut Down Someone Who Made an Insensitive Rape Comment on Twitter

• Katy Perry Is Now Officially the Most-Followed Person on Twitter

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images