It’s been a dream several years in the making. The Twitter deal has been finalized and new owner Elon Musk has taken over the company at long last. There has been a measurabe amount of excitment already as many users have reported seeing noticable differences in their follower counts and active engagements. Some accounts have come back after being “permanently suspended” altogether.
The feeling is generally positive. The vast majority of users now feel they can engage on what is a social platform without the fear of being silenced. But despite these immediate positives, there are several lingering issues that will keep the platform in a Liberal strangle-hold of sorts if not addressed at some point.
One of the oldest speech supression techniques in place on Twitter, is easily the most affective. The hiding of replies under the guise of repetition is clearly exposed when there are no Replies immediatly available to view, but you can click on “More Replies” and see a variety of items that for some reason didn’t make the cut. These are non-promoted Tweets.
The image on the left shows a typical Twitter thread with a lot of interaction. The “Show more replies” link is at the bottom. On the other image, you can see once clicked, we now have access to lots more replies, most of them against the narrative of political correctness.
Why do Tweets end up here? To be completely honest, I believe there’s a wide range of metrics in play with the algorithm being used that does a lot of the automated work on Twitter. There’s no set answer. However, the obvious is that there are far more Donald Trump supporters and Republican opinions in this area than there are Democrats.
This isn’t exclusive, as Liberal accounts do appear in this area from time to time. Two metrics that may be in play are history of foul language, and frequency of reported Tweets. Because reported Tweets are often more favorable to Democrat accounts, this would be another sly way to make a policy that looks fair on paper, but translates into favoritism.
Beyond that, there’s then another layer of supression that is intended purely to devalue target accounts, the grey box warning that insinuates that additional replies contain “offensive content.” Below is an image of the grey warning box on the left.
The box is made to look stern, insinuating that the hidden Tweets have little to no value. Once clicked, it reveals Tweets that are now the Twitter target enemies; anyone outspoken against the great Liberal/Communist cult machine movement. If at any point your name or anything you say hits one of the bevy of keywords that usually only Republicans and Trump supporters utter, your account is marked and you’re now permanently doomed to be shaddowbanned, removed from search suggestions and ultimately supressed.
You’ll likely have to immediately verify your phone number as well, which has nothing to do with verifying your account and everything to do with disabling a small percentage of their opposition base every time they require phone number verification.
You can see that in the example photos, the two accounts we can now see after the “offensive content” has been revealed are Patriot accounts. One has “MAGA” in the display name and the other has American flags. Both of these items are likely the triggers that got them marked to begin with.
When your account is suspended, you have a couple of options. The first one involves leaving the situation to create another account. This can be taxing because if you used your phone number to verify your suspended account, it’s now been added to the “black list.” The black list means if you try to assocaite that phone number with a Twitter account for the next three years, your account wil be automatically and perminantly suspended with no appeal possiblity.
Account appeal and recovery is a murky world to begin with. You’re allowed to submit a small bit of reasoning as to why you don’t think your account should be suspended, but that’s it. Sometimes you get an email that the issue is being looked in to, and that your patience is appriciated. Other times, Twitter Support sends an automated email that you have to reply to before they will add your appeal ticket to the cue.
Once in line, your request can be responded to as quickly as within the hour, or take several days. Typically if your account is going to be unsuspened, you are going to hear about it quicker, usually within a few hours.
The issue with these appeals however, is that even if you are correct in your assertions, they have internal notes about people and accounts, and are committed to not letting certain people back.
If your account changes its user name to one you had when suspended, this will trigger an automatic permanent suspension. Appeal of this situation is never overturned. Hitting any kind of profile image, username, display name or cover photo that they have saved on you, will end the account with a permanent loss of appeal.
In order to fix this, Twitter needs to allow all old accounts to be accessed again with the opportunity to delete offending Tweets. The exact same algorithms that were in place then, are still permanently suspending accounts today, and appeals are being rejected. This simply must be fixed.
Ghost Replies and Ghost Likes
When your account has been labelled as being excessivly abrasive, you are added to a naughty list of sorts. When sending your content to “See more replies” doesn’t work, the final option is simply not publishing your Tweet, when on your account it looks like it did. One way you can tell if your content is being ghosted, is that the tiny replies number next to the replies icon will not go up. This is easy to tell if you are the only comment, but virtually impossible in situations with several other replies.
Using another account, you can check the replies to a particular Tweet and see if what you said was published. A ghosted comment will never show any interaction.
In addition, Likes can reveal when accounts are being censored as well. Often times the Likes count next to the Likes icon will not match the accounts listed that like a Tweet. The icon number is always higher because anyone banned will not show up on the list. Twitter went to great lengths to keep information from getting to people. Obvioulsy, this must change sooner than later if the platform is going to meet its free speech utopia.
Dan Irwin writes about sports and food and feelings and what you just read. You can follow him on Twitter should you choose to accept.