This is an edited and modified (expanded) version of the comments I submitted to Twitter in response to their survey where I gave them a failing grade of 1 out 5. ~Kitty Hundal, Co-Founder of Hacktivist Culture
UPDATE 2019/08/02: Added comments on Twitters censorship algorithm which automatically suspends accounts.
UPDATE 2019/08/03: @kittyhundal, my Twitter account was suspended early in the evening yesterday. Today, my professional account, @kittyhundaldc was suspended. Neither account received any warning or options like temporary lockdowns, removal of posts, etc. Twitter Support claims that I am creating multiple accounts for harassment despite the fact that both are long term accounts. My professional account never engages trolls and I was simply defending my reputation and exposing the troll’s hypocrisy with evidence on my main account which is 99% used for social activism and personal interactions. Was it because of this article? Or the same trolls @trancegemini was defending me from? I have no idea at this point. It could be either. Details will be provided in a second article next week.
UPDATE 2019/08/04: Updating Kaidinn’s current troll activity with a more in depth explanation including what appears to be a possible alliance with someone in Twitter Support who is engaging in deceptive practices to protect Kaidinn’s account and to collude in targeting the accounts that Kaidinn is targeting by keeping them suspended on false fabricated grounds.
IMO Twitter Support engages in discriminatory practices which result in censorship of activist voices, amplification of trolls abusing those activists, and it does so consistently.
I’ve seen the same pattern repeated over and over again. Obvious harassment accounts, newly created, and in some cases older accounts, which engage in mostly harassment behavior and little else, target long term stable activist and independent journalist accounts with abuse which clearly violates the Twitter ToS. Yet Twitter Support seems to come up with numerous excuses for why they shouldn’t be suspended. Instead they appear to be protected.
Twitter Support either takes no action or limited “slap on the wrist” type actions against those harassment accounts which are rarely suspended and even if they are locked their defamations and abuse remains publicly out there for all to see.
Meanwhile, long term stable accounts, especially activist accounts that are anti-establishment – including numerous credible independent journalists – that defend themselves against these vile troll lies and defamations, are routinely suspended at the drop of a hat. Illegal 3d party bots are frequently used by these harassment accounts to accomplish that task.
I can provide numerous examples of this. However, the three most prominent and recent accounts are those of Unity4J (an activist support account for Julian Assange), Barrett Brown and Caitlin Johnstone, both well known independent journalists.
This is outrageous behavior on the part of Twitter Support which I have already brought to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s attention and will continue to do so. In fact, this response to your survey will be published and directed to his attention on Twitter. If you suspend me I’ll simply have friends do it. You will not shut me up when it comes to demanding publicly that Twitter address this issue which according to Dorsey is a problem he recognizes:
The current situation that I’m objecting to is a perfect example of this.
The OBVIOUS harassment account, @u4jTERRORISTorg created just a few months ago, with an incomplete profile in which it attacks an activist organization with the most vile libel and where it ADMITS to being a TROLL, is being given all kinds of opportunities and “advice” to keep their account alive effectively enabling them to continue their abuse.
I received the below in response to a report against the harassment account. Note that the harassment account is not locked, continues to tweet and has just set itself to private to avoid further reporting. So, it would seem that this email from Twitter Support either isn’t true or someone else in Twitter Support removed the lock quickly.
Why is that? NOTE: It was actually locked down shortly after I released this article initially. It was tweeting when I started writing the article.
On the other hand, @trancegemini’s ELEVEN year old Twitter account which was created a year after Twitter was founded was suspended without any notification whatsoever and on specious grounds since the account was simply defending me and others by responding to the lies of the above harassment account and exposing them. This account wasn’t given any suggestions or opportunities to “correct” the “problems”, like the above harassment account was.
Unity4J, Barrett Brown and Caitlin Johnstone, all experienced the same obtuse approach from Twitter Support. BB and CJs accounts were only restored after press inquiries were made. In the case of Unity4J it took a full independent media campaign including a public statement by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd calling Twitter on their censorship before Twitter Support bothered to unsuspend the account.
The harassment account @u4jTERRORISTorg has engaged in far more abusive behavior than @trancegemini did and that is obvious when one compares tweets between the two accounts. The @trancegemini account can still see their tweets so screenshots of the evidence of that fact can be provided.
It’s shocking to me that this is how Twitter treats their committed long term users. That action, by Twitter Support, of suspending an 11 year old Twitter account with no notification, no explanation as to why and no opportunity to correct whatever might have been done wrong, in itself was abusive AND discriminatory.
Especially given that Twitter Support refuses to suspend the harassment account which is openly and with complete impunity violating the Twitter ToS. That account is being given all sorts of opportunities and advice to correct it’s behavior which it is mostly ignoring while lying to Twitter Support to justify it’s abusive behavior.
It’s pretending to be left wing, anti-racist, anti-pedo and pretending the people like me it’s attacking are the opposite. Yet all of the people it’s attacking with accusations of “white supremacist, antisemitic, neonazi” are People of Color and Jewish who are anti-racist, anti-Pedo, anti-fascist activists.
Meanwhile the harassment account @u4jTERRORISTorg is run by a woman, claiming to be white, who was a David Duke follower and claims that a bunch of People of Color were capable of getting David Duke to block a white person. Does that even make sense? Seriously? If she wasn’t a white supremacist why would she even care that David Duke blocked her and why was she following him?
This pattern of response isn’t the odd exception from Twitter Support.
It’s consistent and standard practice which appears to be unwritten and unacknowledged policy. In other words, these harassment accounts actually appear to be protected by Twitter Support.
It’s not clear whether it is just the act of individuals who have worked for Twitter for years at a supervisory level and have control over how policy is implemented (or ignored) or whether that is actual Twitter Support unwritten policy. Either way, the outcome is the same for the Twitter user.
Dorsey’s public statements would indicate that it is NOT Twitter policy, in which case Twitter Support is not only routinely violating Twitters policies as stated by Dorsey but is also openly and routinely violating it’s own Twitter ToS to protect these obvious harassment accounts.
When I state they are obvious I mean the following Use Case is standard on their part:
- They are newly created AND/OR
- Their main activity is to fight with people by lying and defaming them
- Most don’t have profiles OR their profiles are obviously abusive troll profiles
- When required to authenticate themselves they either abandon the account leaving their defamation openly available to link to or they use web sites which offer SMS services to authenticate.
- This part of the Use Case speaks for itself.
This person appears to be unaware of the inconvenient truth that defamation laws exist because Free Speech doesn’t include any right to libel/slander people.
The @u4jTERRORISTorg (now private) has already abandoned two previous accounts: @CocksDavida (now private) @vcruytldczsdfa (remains public). Neither of these accounts have been suspended despite the abuse they’ve heaped on people. She has now (August 2) created another one @MackenzieCaswa (now private) and as you can see by the above screenshot is planning to continue to create more. On August 3, she created @ormeserre43 (public).
On August 5, she created @quesiocvi62 to evade a request for phone number authentication on @ormeserre43. The following is her screenshot attached to her tweet on the new @quesiocvi62 account.
Note that if she was serious about not continuing her harassment campaign, she would have deleted all of the fake harassment accounts and created a legitimate account which doesn’t target and harass me and others with lies. Instead she looks for excuses to rationalize continuing the abuse.
Not only is this harassment account continuing to escalate her targeting of the accounts she’s currently harassing but she’s also adding people to her target list and doing so openly. Note that Christy has simply blocked her and has never engaged with her in any way. She doesn’t even know who she is. Yet the harassment account is threatening her in an attempt to intimidate her into not supporting me. She’s tagged numerous accounts (40 to 50) and tried to incite them into pressuring Christy into not supporting me based on her smear campaign of outright lies.
She’s made some of the accounts private to protect them from reporting while leaving others public. If the public accounts (which are 50% filled with libel) are suspended, she’ll simply make one of her other currently private accounts public and so on.
Someone in Twitter Support appears to be colluding with this activity by suspending the accounts she attacks on the grounds that they are engaging in the activity that she is actually engaging in. Her preventive measures are likely there just in case someone were to over-rule her Twitter Support allies obviously deceptive decisions.
If Twitter Support were serious about eliminating this type of abuse it’s an easy matter to identify those accounts as per the above Use Case and permanently ban them. Yet that isn’t done.
In addition, the premises behind Twitters censorship algorithm which automatically suspends accounts is deeply flawed and very likely the cause of many of the problems users are facing. The censorship algorithm is based on two flawed concepts:
- Scanning for individual words that are considered “bad” like “whore” “retard” to name a couple.
- The number of reports against an account by different accounts.
Point 1 above is flawed because words are meaningless without context and it takes a human being to evaluate context. While I suppose it’s possible to write an algorithm that can do that these days, the reality is that Twitters algorithm doesn’t do it or it doesn’t do it properly. The @yonsolitary account was automatically suspended with no recourse for a simple typo, “hoe” which could have been identified as a typo by a human being reviewing it in context. It took weeks for @yonsolitary to get their account unsuspended with pressure from friends.
Point 2 above is flawed because it opens the door for shady elements to create and implement Report Bots which can trigger Twitters censorship algorithm to automatically suspend accounts without cause.
It’s likely that was what resulted in @trancegemini’s 11 year old account to be brought down so quickly and it has been suspended for weeks now. @trancegemini has opened TWO cases and made numerous attempts to interact with Twitter Support to get an explanation for the suspension and to try to get the decision reversed. All attempts have been ignored. When the first case was closed one email was sent by Twitter Support simply declaring that the ToS had been violated. All previous emails had been ignored. The second case is still open and all efforts to communicate with Twitter Support continue to be ignored.
To make matters worse, this behavior by Twitter Support, in my experience and in the experience of many others is the standard not the exception. They refuse to engage with the user who has been unfairly suspended. It usually takes external pressure of some kind to get the accounts restored and even that doesn’t work sometimes.
A similar thing happened a few years ago on Facebook and masses of people left FB. More continue to leave. Those that remain like me barely use it anymore. There’s just way too much interference with good stable accounts like mine which was a Facebook BETA user and the Troll accounts which disrupt us constantly with false reports and which FB protects, much like Twitter is doing.
Twitter appears to be going down the same path and doesn’t have the user base (in my opinion) to survive it if accounts like mine either leave en masse or reduce our use of Twitter.
It was accounts like mine and @trancegemini, the early users of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google, that made these companies into the billion dollar businesses that they are.
It’s a real shame that those companies, including Twitter, are spitting in the faces of the very hands that fed them.
I, and many other activist and independent media accounts are looking at other options.
This is Twitter’s warning call. Unless you want to lose the support base that built you, you’re going to need to make a major change in approach here, and Twitter would be well-advised to listen.
All of that said, it should be noted that I think Twitter should legally be considered a Public Space where the 1st Amendment applies and censorship doesn’t occur.
So, I disagree with Twitter having a ToS at all. However, since they do have one, it shouldn’t be abused to censor activist voices and amplify trolls which is precisely what is happening and happening on a consistent basis.
Please unsuspend @kittyhundal‘s 10 year old personal and activist Twitter account of which 99% of the tweets and RTs are related to promoting social activist causes and interacting with friends. 1% of tweets are related to protecting her personal and professional reputation from defamations spread by harassment trolls.
Please unsuspend @kittyhundaldc’s 8 year old account which is @kittyhundal‘s author account (previously her business account), clearly states that in the profile and has a different purpose and following than her personal and activist account. It has never engaged with the trolls attacking @kittyhundal‘s reputation or commented on the trolls or any troll libel.
Please unsuspend @trancegemini’s 11 year old Twitter account which was created one year after Twitter was founded, is a long term stable account likely suspended by short term harassment troll accounts using bots.
Please also unsuspend @an0nkn0wledge, an independent journalist with an 8 year old, long term stable Twitter account with 30K followers, suspended by short term harassment troll accounts using bots.