It’s not often you see your name in lights, and seldom can you see it in shadow -LS
Recognition should be celebrated and it’s humbling when a story you post is received in a positive manner. It’s an affirmation of the hard work and research you put into it, and it’s reflected in the people who follow and respect you.
This blog over the last four years has been recognized nationally on more than a few occasions and I’m truly proud of that. It’s an honor to have a story with one’s name on it be linked, liked, shared across social media and mentioned by respected news sites.
Every journalist should want that type of exposure, however, what if the motives for your name being highlighted are dubious and the reasons discriminatory? This question has been on my mind since it was brought to my attention that my Twitter handle @iamlibertyspeaks is on a list circulating online.
— DR JAMES A, PHD™⚖ (@DoRtChristians) March 19, 2017
In case you’re wondering, I’m in the 3rd column towards the bottom and according to the disclaimer one of 124 “notorious accounts“.
As of today, there is no proof of where this partial list and the alleged 82 other pages (yet to surface) originated from. I can not confirm its authenticity, nor legitimacy. I reached out to the individual who posted the tweet as to why my handle appears on it and have yet to receive a reply. There are more than a few questions I have regarding this issue. Did it come from someone within the Twitter ranks or a hack? Is it an accurate list of accounts being targeted or is it just plain made up crap? Either way, it’s now floating in the ether of cyberspace.
Let’s discuss some of Twitters latest actions to give some context. When the social media platform rolled out its newest update on Feb 7th, to combat harassment and trolling, many people including myself considered it a form of censorship and silencing of a particular view or opinion. Thousands online voiced their dislike, and even the stock market took notice.
HMMM Twitter announces 2 days new “search result changes” that some say is censorship..looks like the market may agree with that sentiment pic.twitter.com/GbesVwHm1e
— Liberty Speaks (@imLibertySpeaks) February 9, 2017
The Verge explained the term in its article on Twitters Anti-abuse measure as the “oldest trick in the book”
Users have begun getting notices that their tweets are on a kind of time-out. These users are being told that “only your followers can see your activity on Twitter for the amount of time shown below,” followed by a number of hours — the examples seen so far are all 12 hours. It starts when the user clicks a button to “Continue to Twitter.”
Allowing a user to continue to post to a forum but limiting who can actually see those posts is commonly known as a shadow ban or a stealth ban. But it has other names, and it’s one of the oldest moderation tricks in the forum book. In its earlier iterations, vBulletin forum software called it “tachy goes to coventry.”
It wouldn’t be the first time one of Jack Dorsey’s ideas upset those who use his platform. Remember the Trust and Safety Council? YEP, that was a winner. The Council proved to be nothing more than an updated version of the Orwellian Thought Police and Brendan O’Neill explained it best in his Spectator article “Twitters New Safety Council Makes a Mockery of Free Speech”
We’re witnessing the beginning of the end of the glorious experiment in human intellectual exchange that was the Wild West Web.
So who or what is deciding an account should be “shadow banned” for lack of a better term? Is it an algorithm that searches for keywords? Is it based on user reports? Followers? Interactions? TOS violations? Twitter, after all, is notorious for suspending accounts for TOS violations, yet other accounts doing the exact same thing remain unscathed. I really could go on, but I digress.
So whats the connection between the 124 accounts on the one page released? Are ALL the accounts Conservative, Pro-Trump, Republican, or Verified? Are they ALL seditious, conspiratorial, abusive or nefarious in nature? Do they ALL share the same views, opinions, and sentiment? Are they ALL posting violent images, using vulgarity, making threats, or violating Twitters TOS?
The perception online is that ALL these accounts are connected. The perception is we are all the same, and pardon the expression, but perception can be a very fickle bitch. Some are calling the list the ultimate #FF or Friday Follow, a badge of honor, while others are calling it a one-stop shop on who to target and report.
On a personal level, what connection do I have to the other accounts? Many on the list I respect and was lucky enough to meet during BlogCon 2013. There are award-winning journalists on that list and being counted among them, this notorious group, is a very humbling experience. To be perceived as influential is an honor, but I’ve always striven to just be fair-minded and diplomatic. I try to keep the faith through my writing and my online presence.
Perhaps I should be flattered and not so inflamed, but I went through it once before with Facebook’s “Real Name” policy. Something I can say greatly affected my ability to have a voice in the game.
If this list is 1 of 82 and proves to be legitimate, then perhaps Twitter should be reminded of a 2011 blog post by its co-founder Biz Stone called “The Tweets Must Flow“. The first paragraph says it all.
Our goal is to instantly connect people everywhere to what is most meaningful to them. For this to happen, freedom of expression is essential. Some Tweets may facilitate positive change in a repressed country, some make us laugh, some make us think, some downright anger a vast majority of users. We don’t always agree with the things people choose to tweet, but we keep the information flowing irrespective of any view we may have about the content.
A final note: If society refuses to acknowledge that its a collection of individuals, then it ceases to be a haven for thought and becomes a collective. Our dreams & ideas can’t survive the echo chambers of such a prison, so don’t be surprised when an individual thought starts planning it escape. -LS
Mike Cernovich of Danger & Play (also on the list) has some interesting insights and quantitative data regarding his own “ShadowBan” on Twitter. Check it out for further reading.
*As new information comes in, the Updates will be posted here.
Thank you to Wow Magazine for linking
Thank you to Grumpy Opinions for linking