Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Twitter bans Trump adviser Roger Stone for threatening CNN staff

It's one of the highest-profile suspensions to date.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
October 28, 2017
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Michael Schwartz/Getty Images

Twitter is no stranger to taking down high-profile users' accounts when it believes they've crossed the line, but its latest takedown is arguably the biggest yet. The social network has suspended former Trump adviser Roger Stone after he hurled threats at multiple CNN personalities. When CNN reported that Robert Mueller had filed his first indictments in the Russia investigation, Stone flew off the handle... to put it mildly. In addition to throwing insults, he insisted that Don Lemon should be "confronted, humiliated, mocked and punished," while Jake Tapper should be "very severely punished." Whether or not Stone was promoting violence, it's clear Twitter didn't want to risk people using this as a pretext for more direct threats.

You're unlikely to get a formal explanation of the decision. Twitter is maintaining its policy of declining comment on official accounts. However, Recode tipsters understand that this is a permanent suspension -- that is, a ban. It's not his first violation, so he's not about to come back.

In some ways, you could see this coming. Stone has a long-running history of launching personal attacks against those who challenge the politicians he supports, often using vicious (and occasionally bigoted) language. He wasn't about to take CNN's revelation (which has since been supported by Reuters and NBC) lightly. Still, this was a test of Twitter's resolve: was it going to take action against Stone over his invective, or hold off due to the invariable backlash from Stone's allies and supporters? This isn't going to allay critics' concerns that Twitter makes convenient exceptions to its anti-violence policies when a user is too powerful, but the internet giant clearly doesn't want to give the impression that connections and wealth can automatically put someone above the rules.

Update: Stone tells Politico he's threatening legal action against Twitter over the ban, and to no one's surprise claims this is an attempt to censor "conservative voices" and stifle free speech. However, it's not clear that he has much recourse here. Twitter as a private company isn't obligated to give Stone a platform, and it has the right to kick out people who violate its publicly stated policies.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

View
Netflix confirms it's adding playback speed controls to its Android app

Netflix confirms it's adding playback speed controls to its Android app

View
Apple is reportedly planning 'Apple One' subscription bundles

Apple is reportedly planning 'Apple One' subscription bundles

View
Epic lawsuit claims Google blocked 'Fortnite' deals with OnePlus, LG

Epic lawsuit claims Google blocked 'Fortnite' deals with OnePlus, LG

View
Space Force official logo and motto unveiled

Space Force official logo and motto unveiled

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr