Twitter recently made a few announcements in regards to tackling harassment, abuse and all in all curating a good environment in which to Tweet. Amongst the Tweets sent out was one that really stood out to me given my recent ban – which I’ll be going over in a moment. Its a tweet where Edward Ho, VP of Engineering at Twitter, says a phrase which is so similar to another phrase it can’t be ignored, safer place.
Of course this rings out as safe spaces in all of our heads. Because yeah, that’s what Twitter needs, I mean safe spaces didn’t lead to polarisation of society which ended up with a huge scandal in regards to #fakenews or nothing like that, did they? This is something I would always try to mitigate against with my Twitter account.
I didn’t want a safe space where I would only interact with people who had the same ideas as my own. Its basically intellectual inbreeding, and only ever leads to mutated ideas of justice and equality, as we’ve seen countless times in recent years. Jesus Christ you should never punch anyone, except for in self defence. I don’t care if you think they’re a Nazi or not. Get a grip you’re an adult.
Usually this just results in a block for me. Though sometimes it can be entertaining when people use a technique called “follow bouncing”. This is where they block, then unblock you. With some people you can get them going for a reaaaaallly long time, just continuously blocking and unblocking.
Which is a little silly, no? Its not a very mature and adult thing for them to do. I was followed by radical feminists, the kind who hate trans women. I never thought about getting rid of them because I want them to challenge my ideas, I want to challenge their ideas. That’s what discussion is all about. That’s why I made a Twitter account in the first place.
But… Twitter doesn’t like this. Twitter wants you to stay in your lane. Discuss your ideas with people who like your ideas, not with anyone who might be opposed to them. See, I’m banned, permanently it would appear. It took a while, but I eventually got some information from Twitter about my ban. Here’s the pic:
And I know, it doesn’t just say following, but lets go over them step by step and see what happens. First of all, #1 and #3 we can rule out just by looking at my two accounts @CursedEBlog and @CursedE_Blog and checking the dates of the Tweets. Here’s the last tweet I sent on my first account, dated Jan 14:
and here’s the date of my first tweet from the second account:
I’m getting my Twitter archive for the second account to make sure – but my first Tweet appears to be January 22nd on the account. So given that I was banned on the 14th and unable to tweet – how on Earth was I…
A) Using multiple accounts for overlapping purposes
B) Crossposting Tweets or links across multiple accounts.
I had one account at a time. I didn’t start a second until the first had been banned already. Next up is #2 Evading a permanent ban. Which only applies to the second account, since the first account was not made to evade a ban. It was just my first account. Removing those three we’re left with “aggressive following, particularly through automated means” as the reason why my first account @CursedEBlog was banned. Which is bloody absurd.
I can only give you my word for this that I did not use an automated service to follow people. I would just follow groups of people at a time – usually people who were liking posts of things I disagreed with. Again, I’ve spoken out about breaking echo chambers a lot, and I don’t view this as a bad thing at all. I was trying to keep my ratio of follows/followers at 2:1. That way I could follow both sides of the story and be better informed and less likely to fall for #fakenews.
As for aggressive? Ehh… Not really? Sure, I use spicy language like in the tweet I showed above, but I hardly stalk or harass people once I’ve followed them. I just follow them and if I see something I disagree with I respond to it – again, just conversation. Its not an aggressive action at all. Of the roughly 800 people I followed, you’ll likely find that its only a tiny percentage I ever used spicy language with anyway…
What does this mean for Twitter in the future? Given their commitment to “safer places” to Tweet and their targeting of anyone who is deemed to be considered “abusive” or “harassing”, compounded by all of the recent bans I’ve seen? Several trans people under the hashtag #TwitterisTransphobic are shouting about being banned for defending themselves against radical feminists et al. Not even to mention the #FreeSargon memes when Sargon of Akkad, prominent YouTube personality, was also banned. It’s really not looking that great for free speech advocates and anyone who Twitter doesn’t deem the victim.
One positive that we can take from this is that Twitter seems to be moving away from their automated system. Which, as far as I can work out, looks for keywords in harassment reports and if it seems harassment to a computer you’re banned. Then your appeal also looks for keywords in the thing and picks the correct automated response to send to that too. Under this system its really hard to actually argue your case for why you shouldn’t be banned, so hopefully a new system with an actual human reading the messages might mean that less unjust bans happen and that they’re undone more quickly when they occur. As currently the only way to get unbanned quickly is to have thousands of people tweeting a hashtag on your behalf.
In the mean time, I’m still banned and if you agree my ban is absolutely absurd I could really use the help getting unbanned. #FreeCursed? Anyone?
Ps – made a new Twitter account for the time being. Probably be banned in a month but oh well. Follow me @Still_CURSED