2016/08/01

Unpersoned by Twitter's Deep Shadowban

No Twitter

Having written before about Twitter's nasty penchant for censoring and outright banning users who deviate from the company's rigid left wing ideology, I fully expected the Twitter thought police to come for me. Milo Yiannopoulos warned as much.

I just didn't expect them this soon.

Daddy Warpig tweet 1

Late Friday afternoon: friends on Twitter started complaining that they couldn't see my tweets. Daddy Warpig placed the blame on a shadowban.

NB: if you're unfamiliar with the concept of a shadowban, it's an unofficial and highly passive-aggressive method that Twitter uses to censor people who disagree with them, but who haven't broken any rules. By keeping the shadowbanned user's followers from seeing his tweets or even notifications from him, Twitter can say it's a bug and maintain plausible deniability.

Shadow bans usually last for 24; sometimes 48 hours.

Daddy Warpig tweet 2

Mine was still in effect a day later.

Keep in mind, this whole time I hadn't received any communication from Twitter. No prior warnings, no notice of a TOS violation, no explanation of what was happening or why. Nothing.

This wasn't a surprise, since it perfectly fits the kind of arbitrary censorious behavior that conservative and libertarian users have sadly come to expect from Twitter. I'm neither a conservative nor a libertarian, but Twitter just puts everyone to the right of Chairman Mao into the same badthink box.

The censorship continued through Sunday and into today. Lasting longer and with more extensive effects than ever before, this represents a new form of Deep Shadowban.

Rawle tweet 1

Brand visibility is a matter of life and death for a writer's career. Until quite recently, deplatforming an author could only hurt his career. That's clearly what Twitter was banking on, but for a social network they're pretty mired in analog thinking.

The shadowban's main effect has been to piss my followers off.

PoW tweet

I can't blame them for getting mad when conversations that look like this to me:

Convo 2

look like this to them:

Convo 3

But it's the unintended side effects that should really make Twitter rethink the wisdom of shadowbans, especially in this age of antifragility.

Convo 4

Greyed tweet

My number of followers before the shadowban: 970.

My number of followers now: 1,033 and counting.

And has this whole messy business helped me sell books?

You bet :)

I'm not upset with Twitter for censoring me. Like a small but growing number of independent authors, that only makes me richer and stronger.

I am upset that my readers are upset. I answer to them; never to Twitter. So I'd appreciate it if Twitter would kindly stop belaboring my bosses' social media experience.

Of course, I expect Twitter to double down. Again. They enjoy making people weaker than them miserable. Let's see how they like it when the tables are turned.


I just want to entertain people. A major media corporation wants to censor me. You know what to do.


UPDATE: Breitbart's Allum Bokhari has published an article condemning my shadowban.

If the purpose of a shadowban is to silence dissenters, Twitter should consider that a direct result of their censorship has been to catapult me from relative obscurity to international news in the span of 24 hours.

24 comments:

  1. You managed to piss off Twitter enough to earn a shadow ban? Good. I just bought a book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, I can access the site today! Really odd that I couldn't.

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    Replies
    1. At least one other person had the same problem. Weird.

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  3. I'm already not a fan of Twitter and keep my interaction with that minimal. This is just ludicrous...shadow bans, no notifications? That is a terribly irresponsible way to run a social network in 2016. I mean racists get away with actual hate speech on Twitter all the time....this is nonsense.

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    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right, Kaze, and Twitter's plummeting stock value shows it.

      I really appreciate you stopping by to show solidarity :)

      Delete
  4. Add me to the purchasing folks. I just paid $7.98 for both your books. Never heard of you before (no offense intended), but if you got a Shadowban, then you're probably not some SJW writer, therefore worth a shot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No offense taken. You're giving a great example of why Twitter should stop its censorship out of enlightened self interest alone.

      Enjoy the books!

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    2. As for his books, you won't be disappointed. As for twitter, well, to paraphrase Obi Wan: "Censor me, and I will become more popular than you can possibly imagine."

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  5. Well Brian, I'll admit I haven't read any of your books (yet) but anyone that can piss twitter off is definitely worth a shot! (Got here from Larry Correias post on FB)

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    Replies
    1. Great :) Let me know what you think.

      And thanks for letting me know how you got here. It helps.

      Delete
  6. Chalk up another sale. I actually don't usually go for science fiction, more of a swords n' boards fan, but what better way to tip my toes back into the genre.

    By the way, got here through voat.co - If you also think Reddit has turned into a PC pile of garbage, give Voat a try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might like my stuff, then. It' definitely not straight up SF.

      Thanks for the suggestion.

      Delete
  7. Heh! You just got Breitbarted! If your numbers weren't through the roof before, they will be soon, if not through the top of the atmosphere.
    http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/08/02/reports-hugo-nominated-author-shadowbanned-twitter/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They contacted me yesterday. The story is part of the consequences I tried to warn Twitter about. Thanks for keeping on top of things.

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  8. Not a twatter user, but I had never heard of you before Larry Corriea posted about this. Just bought Nethereal and Souldancer because 1) I like scifi and finding new authors, and 2) F these guys, right in the ass. Good luck to you Newfriend.
    Malaking Baboy

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  9. Same here, saw a post on reddit. Space SF is right up my alley anyway, so bought book one to check it out and F* twitter.

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  10. I saw the Breitbart article; good to see that Twitter's nasty behavior is getting attention. High book sales are the best form of revenge, if you ask me.

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    Replies
    1. Like Larry says, the best award is the George Washington Award.

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    2. Like Larry says, the best award is the George Washington Award.

      And the Ben Franklin Award. :)

      Delete
  11. The shadowban seems odd. I can still see Trump's tweets.

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    Replies
    1. Think of my account as the remote Pacific island where Twitter is testing its new weapon before using it against bigger targets.

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