Conservative personality Milo Yiannopoulos was briefly suspended by Twitter on Wednesday, setting off a firestorm of outrage over concerns about the social network’s stance on free speech.
The hashtag #FreeMilo quickly began trending in the United States.
Has Twitter changed uts strategy to shut down milo from overt banning to covert follower erasing? From 117K to 51K #freemilo— Stuart Knight (@Stuart Knight)1466007374.0
#FreeMilo because we need our digital dose of outrageous.— Stephen N. Perkins (@Stephen N. Perkins)1466004473.0
ATTENTION: @Twitter has suspended gay reporter Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) after he tweeted against Muslim hatred of homosexuals. #FreeMilo— StephenHerreid (@StephenHerreid)1466004454.0
Hey progressives, a gay man was silenced by Twitter for calling out radical Islam's killing of gays. #FreeMilo #FreeNero— John Cardillo (@John Cardillo)1466004253.0
After his account was reinstated, Yiannopoulos said his team was approaching Twitter to get an explanation. He then sarcastically asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, “Do we have to do it in Arabic?”
Yiannopoulos also claimed he lost “tens of thousands of followers” as a result of the suspension. His follower count had dwindled to nearly 10,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.
On Tuesday, the University of Central Florida Police Department canceled a scheduled speech by Yiannopoulos on “gays and Islam.” Officials reportedly said they couldn’t ensure the safety of everyone at the event.
In response, Yiannopoulos scheduled a news conference at “ground zero” in Orlando at 2 p.m. Wednesday. It will be open to the public.