We are constantly being told that deplatforming those out there on the right - and it is inevitably those out on the right who are affected - from platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is pointless, that if they are so offensive and unpleasant, well, people will be turned off by their presence, will ignore them, and that they will then go away of their own accord. This is complete baloney, and this week has proved it in spades.
Milo Yiannopoulos, once upon a time, had a significant Twitter presence. He had an equally significant Facebook presence. But in the wake of his (voluntary) involvement in the GamerGate controversy, and multiple instances of harassment, Twitter banned him permanently. Three years later, Facebook followed suit.
The Twitter ban, along with Yiannopoulos being cut adrift by previous employer Breitbart, the Mercer family (who had been bankrolling him), Steve Bannon and others, contributed to him becoming indebted to the tune of more than $2 million by the end of last year. And now that the Facebook ban has started to bite, that indebtedness will only be worse. Because now he’s been deplatformed, Yiannopoulos isn’t making money any more.
We know this after he posted a suitably self-pitying rant on Telegram, where, according to Vice, he reaches an average of 2,000 readers. On Twitter, he had more than 400,000 followers. Out came the nanoviolin as he blubbed “It’s nice to have a little private chat with my gold star homies but I can’t make a career out of a handful of people like that. I can’t put food on the table this way”. And there was more. Maybe too much more.
“I can’t find anyone who’s managing to grow a really big channel here … Everyone is hitting a wall. There’s no future to Telegram for social media refugees if this is the best it gets”. But as Vice points out, “The provocateur made no mention of the harassment that landed him in social media jail. Nor did he touch on being forced out of Breitbart the following year, after he made comments that seemed to endorse pedophilia”.
But back to Yiannopoulos’ rant. “I’m clinging on for dear life. And I’ll never give up … But holy fucking hell the base in America SUCKS. Frankly they deserve to lose their country and if by some miracle we manage to save it, it’ll be no thanks whatsoever to voters, readers, subscribers and ENTIRELY thanks to the few brave souls battling on the front lines, beyond all reason and hope … It’s years too late … The time to act was when I got booted off Twitter. Nobody did”. And what did he want to be allowed to do?
Well, apart from busting Twitter’s Ts and Cs, as Vice puts it, his modus operandi was as one of “A gaggle of right-wing commentators [who] turned such incendiary content [hate speech] into cold hard cash, parlaying engaged social media audiences into speaking gigs, book deals, or direct contributions from fans through services like Patreon … The more comprehensive deplatforming of Yiannopoulos … appears to have torpedoed the economics driving his whole operation”. And he’s million of Dollars in debt, too.
Back in January 2013, Milo Yiannopoulos ordered one of his gofers at The Kernel to pen a hatchet job on Zelo Street. For that, The Curse Of Zelo was placed upon him. And for the past two years, he’s been discovering that what goes around, comes around.
And he has proved that deplatforming works. Far right provocateurs take note.
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