Suspended From Twitter (Again)

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Those who follow me on Twitter (@Gspellchecker) may have noticed my account is currently suspended. I am yet to receive a reason from the powers that be, but I have filed an appeal for it to be lifted whilst I wait. Going from past experience, the turnaround for an official response could be anything between 24 hours to 30 days.

This isn’t the first time I have been suspended. The last time was January 2015, news of which even made The Independent newspaper.

An open letter I blogged back then detailed my thoughts on what I think is going on with Twitter’s suspension process. Unfortunately, not much has changed except to say that I think Twitter’s approach to such matters has worsened rather than improved in the intervening years.

In short, when I finally do hear back from Twitter, I am usually told I have violated their rules regarding ‘targeted abuse’. I ask for examples of this every time, but never receive any.

I comment on things people say publicly. I’m critical, but never abusive. To be clear, I have never so much as used a single expletive on Twitter. Nor abused anyone, endorsed any abusive sentiment or encouraged others to be abusive or target others. All the time whilst receiving abuse and harassment myself. And you know what I do? I ignore it, block them, reply or do something else for a bit. It seems to me any adult is capable of taking these steps.

If the way in which I operate on Twitter falls afoul of their terms and conditions, but neo Nazis, racists, homophobes, ISIS members and the KKK are left to flourish, I’d suggest Twitter need to revaluate their concerns.

But I don’t blame Twitter so much. They have to be seen to be tackling the problem of online abuse and can’t possibly have the manpower to put human eyes on every reported tweet. I very much doubt Twitter even knows or cares who I am, but has an algorithm making automated decisions in response to the reports they are receiving.

Yes, yes – “Twitter is a private company and can ban anyone they like”. Absolutely they can. No doubt about it. But if they are going to ban people like me they should retract the claim that they are ‘the free speech wing of the free speech party’.

The simple truth of the matter is this: someone, or a number of people simply don’t like me very much and have filed bogus reports in order to try and shut me up. They do this not because they believe they been ‘abused’ by me, but because they know they have been exposed by me.

Well, I’m not going to shut up.

I’ll keep you updated on any developments, but in the meantime you can ensure you don’t miss a thing by:

Please share this blog with anyone you think might be interested.

I’ve noticed the many comments of support (and dismay) since my suspension from those of you demanding answers from Twitter. I’m incredibly grateful for this, thank you.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

5 comments

  • The Independent’s 2015 article says, “a spokesman for Twitter said it did not comment on individual accounts “for privacy and security reasons”.”

    Perhaps you should waive all your rights, with regards to them commenting about this case, just in case someone has the opportunity to press them on the matter.

  • Twitter has introduced a number of modified censorship and ‘soft censorship’ systems since 2015, including ‘shadowbanning’, ‘ghosting’ and automatically switched-on content filters that hide/suppress so-called ‘low quality’ tweets. They recently went on a spree of banning people who were retweeted by controversial figures, thus dissuading people from following them. The purpose of the soft censorship seems to be to edge out people they don’t think they can outright ban, by convincing them that nobody’s listening to them and their followers that they arn’t interacting with them when they are. A Youtube search will find any number of videos about Twitter censorship (of varying quality of course).

    People who are getting fed up with all this nonsense are increasingly setting up backup or second channels on other platforms with a more solid commitment to free speech. Minds.com is a common one, but there are others.

  • More power to you, Stephen. Hang in there, keep fighting, see you back soon.

  • Trouble from motivated groups with an agenda, but not an interest for the truth who are happy to generate stupid complaints. Hope twitter clear up the issue soon because lots of people miss you!

  • I finally gave up on Twitter when I failed to get an explanation. Although they deny it, they are clearly suspending by algorithm so handing over their responsibilities to those who try to sensor by filing false complaints.

    I suspect their refusal to substantiate the general ‘repeated violation’, and ‘targeted abuse’ excuses is because they know it would provide ammunition for those who want them to reform their process. It would clearly be expensive to have proper vetting with an appeals procedure so my suspicion is that they have gone for the cheap option of bored, low-paid operatives clicking through screen after screen of ‘complaints’ and selecting a random response from a drop-down list, probably with a massive target of processed complaints to achieve.

    Consequently, Twitter seems now to be a vehicle for trolling, stalking and presidential proclamations.

What do you think? Leave some comments!