Targeted Harassment by way of Twitter Suspension
Twitter is clunky at best, failed at worst in their ability to deal with TOS violations. All too often, people who should not have active accounts successfully have users banned by gaming the reporting system and TOS loopholes. I’m one of the few to have resurrected an account that was given a permanent suspension.
At one point the last week of December, I logged into to Twitter on my phone only to be told my account was locked and I had to delete a few posts to recover it. There were 3 tweets I was required to delete. All 3 of which were tweets that had Revenge-Porn-Turned-Uber-CEO-Wannabe (RPTUCW) mentioned. Two of them were tweets to people in a thread that linked to articles about RPTUCW’s revenge porn past and one was a picture of his dipshit face.
A couple days later he started posting demands of his followers to give him money so he could reach $2000/month in Patreon donations by the end of January. Naturally people ripped on him from all corners of Twitter, myself included. He quote retweeted his replies, tearing into supporters and detractors alike. He and I went back and forth for a while. After a little bit, I noticed his replies to me had been deleted. He added me to his list “Future Deleted Accounts” and blocked, unblocked, followed, unfollowed and re-added me to his list a few times. His tirade lasted a few hours. Within his meltdown, he tweeted threats of suicide if he did not get the money he felt entitled to. I managed to capture one, less explicit example:
Other tweets literally said “I will kill myself if I don’t get up to $2000/month by the end of January”. All tweets from the meltdown were deleted within 30 minutes of being posted.
The next day my account was locked for 12 hours. At the end of the 12 hours I was told to delete this tweet:
That tweet describes how he ran his revenge porn business. After returning from being locked out, I told one or two of his supporters not to give him money.
Two days later I woke up with a suspension notice. I filed an appeal not knowing exactly why I was suspended. Two days I received a message from support that I was suspended for targeted harassment and my account would not be restored.
It immediately became clear to me what happened. RPTUCW replies in such a way as to get a back-and-forth going as well as calling in others to help him pile on. All of his posts are then deleted leaving his targets with a number of tweets mentioning him for seemingly no reason.
I wrote another appeal to twitter detailing this game, a link to his list “Future Deleted Accounts” and a long description of who he is. Twitter agreed and reinstated my account the next day.
Twitter has some real issues with account suspension. Most of the issues have been written about before but one that doesn’t seem to get much attention is the use of the reporting tool as a means of harassment. Neo Nazis, MRAs, Gamergate hangers-on and the people who are rejected from even those groups (see above) pick targets to get suspended.
The reporting tool, the way it functions now, is just another tool of harassment. While most normal people who are harassed on twitter don’t report it, abusers lean heavily on it. What better way to fuck someone over than take away a powerful interaction method? The ultimate goal of harassment is to have the account removed. I am not sure how support functions on the other end of the reporting system but what they seem to be missing is how to determine when the reporter is being harassed or the other way around. Surely there’s a fix for this.
Twitter is wildly inconsistent with taking action against accounts. I wasn’t supposed to get my account back for replying to a big baby and his tiny fan club but this guy is still active? You’re supposed to be able to report someone specifically for hate speech and I have yet to see it work. Braig Crittain was literally threatening to kill himself as a means of extortion but deleted it before Twitter acted. I have to assume they don’t maintain deleted tweets somewhere if that’s the case.
I honestly don’t know the best way for Twitter to fix these issues. If you are involved with a person who violating the TOS towards you, screencap any TOS violations directed towards you (or someone else of course) and report them in case their aim is to get you suspended.