“Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones publicly abandoned Twitter, one of several celebrities to do so after becoming the target of sexist and racist abuse on the service.
Jones, who is black, fielded a barrage of Twitter harassment before she gave up, all because, as she put it, “I did a movie.” Twitter users hurled epithets, compared the comic actress to the gorilla recently killed at the Cincinnati Zoo and allegedly sent Jones obscene pictures.
Twitter banned conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, technology editor of the right-wing site Breitbart News, for “participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals,” according to a Twitter notice emailed to Yiannopoulos and published on Breitbart . Twitter would not comment on Yiannopoulos specifically, but it confirmed the authenticity of the notice.
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The move represents Twitter’s latest attempt to get a handle on its Wild West reputation as a haven for online harassment and abuse while still holding onto its commitment to free speech. It’s a tricky balancing act, and neither the targets of abuse nor their alleged harassers are particularly satisfied by its efforts.
A representative for Jones did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Yiannopoulos did not reply to emails seeking comment.
“We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree,” Twitter said in an emailed statement following the Jones incident. “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.”