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Fri Sep 14, 2012, 09:59 PM

Twitter censorship by the neo-GOP

Last edited Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:34 PM - Edit history (1)

(Email I just sent to Twitter

For the last few weeks, I have been running an anti-Romney account called RomneyBot_Says. The account has just been suspended. Do you have any information that you would like to share with me before I start the process to sue you? There is a long list of reasons that you claim as justifications to suspend accounts. All of the ones that appear as possible justifications in my case appear to involve highly subjective judgments on your part. However I think the First Amendment still has a certain bit of status in America, at least until after Romney wins. Or is Twitter already a Chinese company?

Assuming I am sincere in my political views, then I think this looks like a really good opportunity to get some really awkward publicity against Romney, but you might be concerned about your collateral damage.

Constructive suggestion. You should include something about the basis of an account suspension when you do it. I'm going to start the ball rolling now, but I'm going off half-cocked, just like Romney, but it's not like suspending accounts is something you've never done before. You should have a plan, eh?

P.S. Right now I am searching for evidence of any sort of organized campaign of political censorship on Twitter. I have already seen quite a bit of evidence of astroturfing... My evidence is just circumstantial based on my observations, but I bet that your internal records could provide lots of substantiation. Ever heard of "discovery"?

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Twitter censorship by the neo-GOP (Original post)
shanen Sep 2012 OP
shanen Sep 2012 #1
icarusxat Sep 2012 #8
shanen Sep 2012 #11
progressivebydesign Sep 2012 #2
shanen Sep 2012 #6
MotherPetrie Sep 2012 #3
shanen Sep 2012 #5
shanen Sep 2012 #4
shanen Sep 2012 #7
JeffersonLoveChild Sep 2012 #9
shanen Sep 2012 #10
JeffersonLoveChild Sep 2012 #12
shanen Sep 2012 #13

Response to shanen (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:04 PM

1. Are any of you monitoring the neo-GOP astroturfers?

By the way, I actually think it might be a metric of political significance that the account was attacked. I didn't have that many followers or retweets, but if there was some targeting against the account, then the Romney campaign must really be panicking now. I'm not watching the neo-GOP lunatics that closely. I don't have the stomach for it. However, I would really appreciate it if anyone could find a published or emailed instruction telling people to go after anti-Romney Twitter accounts.

Actually, the biggest loss was that the RomneyBot_Says account was linked to a bunch of other RomneyBots, a Rafalca cavalry, and a Seamus K9 corps. All of those linkages are presumably lost. If the goal is to reduce the political activity on Twitter, I'm sure the Iranian government is delighted to hear it.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated, but I'm already thinking I want to get me a lawyer...

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Response to shanen (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:58 PM

8. smart people walked away from twitter 5 years ago

main stream and sewage are two different concepts...

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Response to icarusxat (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 01:47 AM

11. Actually thinking in the small snippets is provocative

My own preconception of Twitter was similar. Yes, some interesting ideas do have natural forms that are short enough for a tweet, but in general, most complicated ideas are much longer than that. However, after wrestling with the format for a while, I realized a couple of interesting things.

Most importantly, I think I now understand the lack of clash in American politics. One side really is focused on short, simple answers. Great when that works out, but most of the time the simple answers they demand are misleading at best and dangerously wrong at worst.

I think the topic of abortion is a good example, and trying to deal with it from the perspective of Twitter helped me understand it in a new way. The key question is "What is a human being?" There are a couple of simple answers, but they are quite wrong. The current leader is "a fertilized egg", which is certainly short enough to work into many tweets, but it is also a ridiculously false answer. What human attributes does a fertilized egg have? None. It is not human.

But how are they reasoning to get to this crazy position? I think they believe the DNA is like a tiny blueprint for a unique human being, and since the fertilized egg has the full set of so-called blueprints, then they think that defines a human being. Wrong.

The DNA is much more like a recipe book. There are various ingredients and partial combinations and intermediate steps and lots of timing information about how to 'cook a baby', but there is NO unique human being there. If there's nothing fatally wrong with the recipe (which is actually the case about half the time), and everything goes really well (within rather narrow parameters), then way down the line you might get a human being of some sort, but certainly nothing like a unique one. This is still a radical simplification of the reality, but it's already beyond packaging for Twitter.

Suddenly you realize that the Twitter part doesn't matter. If Romney's neo-GOP fanatics are demanding simplistic answers, then they aren't going to listen to or understand complicated answers, no matter how you present them.

Lack of clash. Ships passing in the night. Rush Limbaugh brainfarts.

I still hope Romney is going to lose, but it isn't the big lie that will carry him, or even the money. If Romney wins, it will be the triumph of lots of stupid little lies (with a few big ones mixed in).

Oh yeah, the other thing I learned from writing for the Twitter format: You really can pack a lot of umph into a short format if you work at it.

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Response to shanen (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:37 PM

2. Considering they allow a Mock Obama2012 account, that spew hate 24/7, what is their defense?

There is a fake Obama2012 account, run by a human cesspool of a person. And THAT stays on twitter????

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Response to progressivebydesign (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:45 PM

6. Probably NOT just a single person

Though I have been working independently, it seems quite clear that most of the prominent accounts are run by committees. However, if my account was actually targeted just because I'd grown to over 100 followers, then the Romney campaign is in a MASSIVE state of panic.

Seems more likely to me that it's just anti-freedom neo-GOP extremists acting on their own, though I'm not sure how they spotted me. I've mostly tried to focus away from arguing with doorknobs.

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Response to shanen (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:38 PM

3. They can censor you all they want, it's a private company. First amendment does not apply.

 

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Response to MotherPetrie (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:42 PM

5. First Amendment limitations on private companies?

If people think that Twitter is a place for free and open discussion, but that is NOT the case, then it would be harmful to their reputation. I actually think that one of the main events in the history of Twitter's growth was their prominent position during the ruckus after the Iranian election a couple of years ago. The Iranian government would certainly approve if Twitter is free of such nuisances as the First Amendment.

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Response to shanen (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:39 PM

4. You missed the Twitter storm

By the way and even though it seems that Twitter is of no interest over here, there was a massive Tweet storm a couple of days ago when Romney prematurely shot his wad in attacking the American embassy in Egypt. Now it looks like the neo-GOP astroturfers have stormed back, but they still seem to be losing. Their lies are becoming amazingly hyperbolic, and the entire Twitter system was apparently overloaded at least once this morning. (I got an error message to that effect, though there have been lots of other problems that might be related to extremely high loads on their servers.)

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Response to shanen (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 11:48 PM

7. Ongoing amusements and looking for footprints.

Can't say much in public, but I will just say that if a lawyer has already contacted me, that might suggest the sharks have already been circling. More news as it develops, eh?

If you do happen to come across any public mentions outside of Twitter of "RomneyBot_Says", I'd appreciate a heads-up, especially if the source is anything with an official link to the Romney campaign. It might be a website or blog, but most likely the original source is in email. It's also possible that it isn't specific to the "RomneyBot_Says" but references tags such as #BackseatRomney.

I'll repeat that if the Romney and neo-GOP have started going after Twitter accounts with less than 200 followers, they (1) are incredibly desperate and panicking, (2) have too much money to burn, and (3) really are as dumb and dishonest as they so often seem.

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Response to shanen (Original post)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:19 AM

9. An automated process

I'm pretty certain that first level suspensions are an automated process. I remember reading about it somewhere before, but I can't seem to find the link now. Anyway, once an account received a certain number of user reports, it is automatically suspended.

A human only enters the picture if you file a report.

I would suggest you do so, and wait for the response within the next 24-48 hours.
Be sure to state that you have not broken any of their T&Cs.

Good luck.

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Response to JeffersonLoveChild (Reply #9)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 12:36 AM

10. Thanks very much for that link

How did you find it? I spent a while looking for something like that, but all I could find was an email address, and I didn't expect any immediate reply there...

Having said that, I still think they could just as well issue an automatic warning first. It certainly feels like they start out with a shot to the head. The account still appears to exist, but all of it's information appears to have been destroyed, including the key list of other RomneyBots.

If the neo-GOP is behind it, then I am eager to pursue it. Unfortunately, the legal path tends to be slow, and we only have a short time until the election...

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Response to shanen (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 15, 2012, 01:52 AM

12. You're welcome...

When you hang around the Warrior Forum long enough, you're bound to pick up a few things.

That aside, not only will a legal solution be a long drawn affair, it will also cost you an arm, a leg, and then some.

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Response to JeffersonLoveChild (Reply #12)

Sun Sep 16, 2012, 03:18 AM

13. So far still appear to be arguning with the robots

Right now Twitter seems to be a case of killer robots without a human in the loop. That is stupid. Robots should be required to issue warnings before they shoot, especially when, as in this case, the robot appears to have destroyed the most important data in the account.

Yes, the legal solution would be ugly, but I'm willing to consider it as a political donation. The key question to me is how much anti-Romney attention it could generate before the election. Proving that neo-GOP dirty tricks are involved is likely to be difficult--unless Twitter actually cares to stop that sort of thing.

Right now, I think neo-GOP idiots are probably Twitters' favorite customers. It is just natural fore them to think in tiny pieces and reject longer ideas.

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