Since April of 2012 many conservatives on Twitter have experienced either a suspension or know of someone who has been suspended. After Chris Loesch’s unjust suspension, conservatives suspended for their beliefs joined around the term Twitter Gulag, which became a hashtag many would rally around.
Solutions to the Gulag problem have been considered and a various people have voiced their opinion. Some say a mass reprisal against leftists who are doing the suspensions should be made, but after all we play by the rules and it would not be nice to ‘return the favor’ on leftists who could be tricked. Those who understand Twitter’s algorithm probably wouldn’t get suspended anyway as they will not fall for the tricks.
There are a few characteristics of suspensions. Most come after an account is mass blocked.
Let’s say you encounter a leftist and have a discussion. It is very heated and your opponent retweets what you’re saying to his/her followers, then in the middle of a reply you see you can’t tweet anymore! A pink ribbon pops up at the top of your screen and you are suspended. In this case the reply trap is the culprit. Either person in the discussion could be suspended, but the one that has more followers, retweets the enemy most and blocks earlier wins. Along the way it’s also likely that the leftist side is organized and their is a team blocking party planned. The faster the opposition responds the weaker the account will become and the easier it will be to get the prey suspended. Twitter’s algorithm recognizes something that has been programmed to scream ‘SPAMmer’. Why does Twitter allow this? I have thought this over many times and discussed it with friends and there is still no pleasant answer. Twitter’s user interface has been updated many times since April. It must not be too difficult to change filters and allow conservatives to escape this SPAM algorithm but a response from Twitter beyond, ‘we’re working on it’ is yet to be heard.
If you have not had a discussion with a leftist who has blocked and suspended you, it is possible that you had a discussion with one of the ‘fake conservatives’ roaming in the Twitterverse or you have an account which is relatively new and your followers are very few (under one thousand). The more accounts that follow you the less likely it is that you will be suspended. More safety tips can be found here.
I have encountered multiple suspensions myself. To date it numbers thirteen on various accounts. From newly created accounts which followed few, tweeted none, had nothing controversial except ‘end Twitter Gulag’ in their bio to my primary account which had somewhere between 9,000 and 11,000 the last of the four times it was suspended.
Through this time we have maintained hope that Twitter would end this injustice and stop allowing these suspensions. Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo has been reminded of the Gulag where conservatives are held on a daily basis since early this summer. During that time he has turned a deaf ear to the pleadings of conservatives except on a couple occasions.
One response to a spammer notification I sent to Dick Costolo:
@PolitixFireball always working on the spam arms race. New spam vector, team is on it. Thanks for the account reference.—
dick costolo (@dickc) August 09, 2012
A second response over a month later pleading for the reinstatement of a friend:
dick costolo (@dickc) September 12, 2012
Twitter Gulag has encountered lulls when we had hoped that the Gulag was disappearing, but it seems to always come back as no true solution has been found. Since November suspensions have become more frequent again.
This month one South Carolina politico Todd Kincannon an avid Twitter user became fed up with his followers being purposely targeted and suspended.
With 30,000 followers it would be unlikely that a mass block suspension would be made directly on him, but suspending the account’s followers would work easily. With growing complaints of being targeted a new solution was born. The Twitter Gulag Defense Network #TGDN. To help followers lose susceptibility to suspensions Kincannon has devised a series of lists.
If you want to join the Twitter Gulag Defense Network, tweet EXACTLY this: "Join #TGDN"—
Todd Kincannon (@ToddKincannon) January 05, 2013
All conservatives are welcome to join, but the network will only be successful if everyone does their part and follows the other members on the list.
Chris Loesch who was one of the first big targets of these suspensions has gladly welcomed Todd Kincannon onto Gulag fighting heroes list.
Chris Loesch (@ChrisLoesch) January 06, 2013
Uniting the like-minded across the social network will greatly help those who are newly arrived to Twitter to have a better experience and not face frequent suspensions for simply having few followers. Likewise those who find themselves in a discussion with a leftist will not be suspended so easily. We have a true group here and the conservatives on Twitter certainly have a new rallying point on the war against oppression.
Where do we find ourselves in the future? Well…
Todd Kincannon (@ToddKincannon) January 06, 2013
Cross-posted on my blog.