If you’re okay with a company arbitrarily designating what it considers to be harassment, previously had an actual organization on its Trusted Partners list called Crash Override Network that partook in literal harassment, and can shadowban and silence users depending on what it deems “offensive” or “harassing” tweets, then you’ll love Twitters new methods for curbing a “toxic” social atmosphere.
According to Mashable Twitter has instituted notifications for when users end up on a list for any reason, so others can check when someone is on the naughty list.
We heard your feedback – this was a misstep. We’re rolling back the change and we’ll keep listening. https://t.co/9ozPS4XlVI
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 13, 2017
In addition to being added to the list, Twitter also shadowbans users for a limited amount of time, as reported by Fortune.
In fact, Fortune features a warning that former #GamerGate supporter, Drybones, received. He’s now somewhat famous and no longer in charge of #GamerGate ops, so he’s probably got plenty of time on his hands. In fact, fellas, I think Drybones is still single so don’t hesitate to hit him up. And feel free to ask him about the routine workout for his pecs.
>automatically get limited cause I said retard
I'm just considering leaving Twitter, fuck them pic.twitter.com/2NZpOPmlo2
— 🇺🇸 Drybones ム🗽💀 (@Drybones5) February 14, 2017
Other users also began posting notices they received from Twitter about their account being limited, resulting in the reach of their tweets being limited. In the case of Drybones, he was restricted for using the word “retard” in a tweet.
The Twitter notice reads…
“Creating a safe environment for people to freely express themselves is critical to the Twitter community, so if behavior that may violate the Twitter Rules is detected, certain account features become limited. We’ve detected some potentially abusive behavior from your account, so only your followers can see your activity on twitter for the amount of time shown below.”
Drybones was given a 12 hour timeout where his tweets were shadowbanned, a method of censorship that was famously (and still is) employed by Reddit.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey didn’t hide behind any euphemisms or weasel words, he simply came out and said that they’re taking a more “open” approach to how they censor people.
We’re taking a completely new approach to abuse on Twitter. Including having a more open & real-time dialogue about it every step of the way https://t.co/a1SV7URPEK
— jack (@jack) January 31, 2017
Many suspected that Twitter had been shadowbanning people long before this new, more “open” method had been employed. In fact, we covered the shadowbaning and potential antitrust violations Twitter may have been committing by silencing certain institutions and voices back in the summer of 2016.
Earlier in the month on February 4th, the artist formerly known as the Internet Aristocrat published a video on YouTube actually pointing out that throttling was taking place well before Twitter admitted to it and ahead of the notices being sent out to users.
In the past, various users accused Twitter of specifically targeting Conservatives, like when they banned Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos on the grounds of harassment even though he didn’t partake in any harassment, as reported by Breitbart.
Some people see this as Twitter attempting to limit free speech, others claim that it’s combating abuse and harassment on the platform, a few more are simply angry that the rules aren’t always applied equally, especially after several high profile Conservatives were suspended or shadowbanned for nebulous reasons.