The debate over the effectiveness of deplatforming white supremacists was largely settled on Monday when alt-right provocateur and unrepentant racist Milo Yiannopolous publicly complained about how he can’t make any money grifting from racist losers without access to the major social media networks.
Posting on the messaging app Telegram, Yiannopoulos was caught complaining about how he couldn’t bring in enough revenue with such a small audience. “I spent years growing and developing and investing in my fan base, and they just took it away in a flash…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…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.”
While Milo’s ire was mostly reserved for Twitter (which banned him after he used the platform to direct a racist harrassment campaign against SNL’s Leslie Jones in 2016), PayPal (which banned him after he used the service to “troll” a Jewish journalist by sending her $14.88, the numbers of a white supremacist code) and other major social media companies like Facebook and YouTube (which banned him and a host of other white supremacists in May 2019 for “extremism”), the ever-gracious pedophilia apologist trashed his hooting and baying fans for their inability to make his chosen career of posting racism to be lucrative.
“I’m clinging on for dear life. And I’ll never give up. But holy f*cking 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.”
Major tech companies and social media platforms play a huge role in not only enabling the dissemination of white supremacist rhetoric but also in enabling white supremacists like Yiannopoulis and the UK’s Tommy Robinson to raise money in order to hold events like the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville where a neo-Nazi murdered Heather Heyer, to fund their trips around the world to promote hate and to pay the legal fees that inevitably arise from that line of “work.”
The fall of Milo Yiannopolis and the opportunity to revel in his misfortune is a perfect example of not only how easy it would be for major tech companies to deal a crippling blow to the alt-right and the white supremacist propaganda machine in one fell swoop — and how important it is that we hold these companies accountable for their actions.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.