Twitter has declined to explain why it has threatened a UK journalist with suspension from the network.
Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos has been told by Twitter that the blue tick on his Twitter profile @Nero, indicating that his identity had been verified, had been removed due to “recent violations of the Twitter rules”.
Twitter also told him last Friday: “Please review the Twitter Rules as additional violations may result in permanent account suspension.”
Yiannopoulus speculated to Press Gazette that he has been targeted because he his right-wing and he makes jokes about feminists on his Twitter account. He said that many of his posts could be deemed offensive, but that they are just jokes.
He recently tweeted: “Grindr has taken $93m from the Chinese – the only people no one wants to fuck on Grindr”.
Business Insider reports that a Twitter message from Yiannopoulos addressed to @comfortablysmug may have led him to being reported to Twitter administration.
Yiannapoulous said: “You deserve to be harassed you social justice loser”, to which @comfortablysmug replied: “Milo could you tell your creepy weirdo misogynist followers to maybe take a shower and get a life instead of harass me online?”,
Yiannapoulos told Press Gazette Twitter has refused to explain why he has been punished and said he has done nothing to warrant it.
"Voltaire was a troll by today’s standards as are the guys behind South Park," he said.
“The more fundamental question is why are Twitter using a mechanism designed to verify the identification of public figures as a form of punishment.”
Yiannapoulos currently has 145,000 followers on Twitter and said that the blue verification tick was useful to him because there are other fake accounts claiming to be him.
He said: “Twitter has created a huge public square of its own, a highly powerful one.
“Now Twitter needs to stop this or it needs to be transparent, it needs to say we are left wing and if you are a conservative we are going to take you out one way or another.
“They don’t have the balls to outright ban me. By taking verification away they’ve given me more of a voice. I’ve gained 20,000 followers since Christmas.”
Yiannopoulos also questioned why Twitter was “censoring or censuring” its “most popular users” at a time when its share price is “tanking”.
He said: “They don’t like my point of view and they don’t like me, but I haven’t given them any excuse to ban me.”
A spokesman for Twitter UK said: “We don't comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons.”