Twitter permanently barred conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from its service Tuesday night, prompting immediate accusations that the social-media giant was suppressing free speech.
"The account you are trying to view has been suspended," a message read when users attempted to access the Breitbart editor's account.
The ban was first reported by BuzzFeed, which said Yiannopoulos had "gone too far" this week with tweets targeting "Ghostbusters" actor Leslie Jones. The tweets from Yiannopoulos and his followers ultimately caused Jones to leave the social-media platform.
"People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter," Twitter said in a statement provided to Business Insider. "But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others."
The company added: "Over the past 48 hours in particular, we've seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension."
Twitter said it was "reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior" and would provide more details soon.
A copy of the email Twitter sent to him was posted to Breitbart:
In a comment to Breitbart, Yiannopoulos blasted Twitter for what he called the "cowardly suspension" of his account.
"Twitter is holding me responsible for the actions of fans and trolls using the special pretzel logic of the left," he said. "Where are the Twitter police when Justin Bieber's fans cut themselves on his behalf?"
"Like all acts of the totalitarian regressive left, this will blow up in their faces, netting me more adoring fans," the Breitbart editor added. "We're winning the culture war, and Twitter just shot themselves in the foot."
Yiannopoulos further predicted that his suspension would be "the end for Twitter."
"Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you're not welcome on Twitter," he said.
Following the suspension, users started to tweet with the "#FreeMilo" hashtag.
The ban came one month after Twitter briefly suspended Yiannopouloswith no explanation.
Earlier this year, the social-media giant ignited a firestorm of controversy when it removed his blue verified badge. Yiannopoulos said it was due to a satirical comment he made on feminism. Twitter declined to explain the move.
Chuck Johnson, a controversial conservative blogger who was also permanently barred from Twitter, told Business Insider that he predicted Twitter would bar Yiannopoulos.
"I told Milo that he would be next," he said. "And now he is."
Gavin McInnes, a friend of Yiannopoulos and cofounder of Vice Media, also blasted Twitter's decision in a short statement to Business Insider.
"This has nothing to do with Milo and everything to do with PC fascism," said McInnes, who left Vice in 2006.