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[liberationtech] Where can I find the Twitter censorship handbook?

Lisa Brownlee lmbscholarly2 at gmail.com
Sat Dec 15 06:24:07 PST 2012


I will try to find u gen counsel privacy name in meantime Marc Rotenberg
likely to have it and/or Jules, both CC'd above.

On Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 7:42 PM, Uncle Zzzen <unclezzzen at gmail.com> wrote:

> Warning for the politically-correct: this message contains the N-word. I
> believe it is in context :)
>
> I'm sorry I didn't respond to this in time and I now don't have links to
> the tweets I mention, but I'm pretty sure other people on the list had
> similar experiences.
>
> In short: Twitter is excluding tweets by me and my friends based on
> arbitrary (until proven otherwise) criteria. Here are 2 incidents.
>
> 1) The N-word incident
> About a month ago, @MrChuckD ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_D )
> has tweeted that in his opinion, Twitter should censor tweets containing
> the N-word. Me and another friend (independently of each other) have
> replied.
> * I said something like "if you don't oppose censorship, you don't deserve
> to be called a nigger"
> * My friend said something like "and that's from someone who has a song
> called [I don't wanna be called] yo nigga"
> i.e. the n-word was "misspelled" in that case :)
>
> Note: The content of these tweets is not brought here in order to express
> or debate our opinions or style (we're both huge fans BTW), but to show
> what might have triggered censorship filters (if that is the case), and the
> actual semantics of the tweet.
>
> We were then IMing about this to each other, and found out that when
> looking at @MrChuckD's tweet (where all replies can be seen), none of us
> could see our tweets or each other's.
>
> 2) The Bitcoin incident
> A merchant friend has tweeted something as "we now accept #bitcoin [+ link
> to "buy" page]"
>
> Nobody (including the person who tweeted this) could see the tweet at the
> #bitcoin hash tag. #bitcoin seemed to be fairly active during that time and
> there were tweets within minutes (maybe even seconds) before and after that
> tweet.
>
> Now the first incident is alarming enough IMHO (I'm actively considering
> moving my "business" to the identi.ca/OSub world), but I could live
> without using the N-word (and half of my forking vocabulary) if there was a
> "Twitter Censorship Handbook" or "Newspeak Dictionary" I could consult
> (although from a usability perspective, I'd prefer getting a "please
> rephrase that" pop-up). But the second incident gives me the creeps:
> * What the fork WAS wrong with that tweet?
> * Maybe it's a bug?
> * Maybe twitter's filtering algorithm was hacked by competitors of that
> merchant?
> * Is there a way to contest such a decision (or even get an admission from
> twitter that a tweet of mine WAS blocked, and preferably why)?
>
> If twitter is a platform that is supposed to mobilize future "Arab
> Springs", we have a real problem here - because the alternative is facebook
> :)
>
> --
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>



-- 

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