Well, I’ve been shadowbanned on twitter. Again.
Shadowbanning is when you still have a twitter account but, for whatever reason, twitter goes out of its way to hide your tweets. Right now, people can read my tweets by going to my profile page or by following me. That hasn’t changed. However, my tweets do not currently show up under most twitter searches nor will they be found under any hashtags.
So, for instance, let’s say that someone decided to go on twitter and search for which film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes earlier today. They’ll probably find a lot of tweets about it but what they won’t find is the post that I wrote for this site or the link that I tweeted out earlier today. Or let’s say that someone was searching to see if anyone on twitter had written a review of the new Netflix film, Maria. Again, I have. And, as always, I posted a link to it on twitter. But only those people who are already following me are going to see that link. A random person searching for “Maria review” will not.
Why have I been shadowbanned? I don’t know. As you may remember, the same thing happened to me three years ago and the shadowban was lifted after three days. From my own research, I imagine that it’s because I post a lot of links (mostly to this site) and I’ve been doing some automated tweets as my way of wishing everyone a good morning. Here’s an example of one of them:
The Twitter Algorithm has apparently been set to treat with suspicion any account that posts a certain amount of links or which posts any automated tweet. A human being, of course, could just look at my profile and see that I’m a very real person who talks to a lot of other very real people. The Algorithm, however, doesn’t have to worry about any of that or any of the damage done by its decisions. For a film blogger, being shadowbanned from the country’s biggest social network — even if it is just for a limited amount of time — can seriously and adversely effect that number of daily page views that their site receives.
I’ve been told that the best way to get unshadowbanned is to basically just go silent for a few days. Apparently, under the new rules, these shadowbans usually only last 48 hours from the moment that you stop tweeting but they can last up to 5 days. To me, this seems like bullshit and it also seems rather unfair but I guess that’s what I’ll do.
It’s frustrating. Twitter says that they want to promote “healthy conversation” but this isn’t the way to do it. A look at my twitter timeline will show that I’m probably one of the nicest, most positive people on twitter. I don’t pick fights with people. I don’t send abusive tweets to anyone, regardless of whether they’re verified or not. I’ve studiously avoided getting involved in any of the political fights that have come to define social media as of late. My only sin is that apparently I tweeted too much, I posted too many links, and I thought it would be cute to wish everyone a good morning.
I’m mad. I’m hurt. I’m sad. And quite frankly, I’m not alone in this. There are others who have been shadowbanned for the exact same reason. They did something that tripped up the algorithm and they were shadowbanned without warning. Tweeting at @Twitter or @Jack or @TwitterSupport, as so many people do, will not make any difference. But you have to wonder how exactly we’re supposed to follow the twitter rules when no one knows what the rules are?
It’s easy to just shrug and say, “Well, forget twitter. Who needs social media?” Realistically, though, social media has become too important to be ignored or causally dismissed. My fear, though, is that twitter’s foolish attempts to control “healthy conversation” will ultimately just make society sicker. If you want to know why so many people end up on social media sites like Gab (where most of their interactions will likely be with Neo-Nazis who were previously kicked off of twitter), it’s because of stuff like this.
Anyway, I guess my twitter silence begins now. I’ll be back in a few days, hopefully.
Fortunately, however, I will never be silent on this site. TSL forever!
(And, by the way, check out this Shadownban Test, in case your curious about the status of your own account!)