Grrr. Twitter suspended my @maymaym account today for no specific reason. Assuming good faith, I can guess that my much-more recent heavy use of TOR: The Onion Router may have triggered an auto-block, but regardless, this shit is exactly why I fuckin’ hate centralized, corporate-controlled systems.
Also, note that if I wasn’t already doing POSSE-style personal Web content publication, then this would mean that the entire archive of my Tweets could have been gone, just because someone (or some algorithm) at Twitter HQ said so.
That is the Internet we live in. Maybe it’s time we put this shit to an end, eh? Consider joining Diaspora.
Also, now seems like a really good time to remind people that the horrific CISPA Internet censorship bill is making its way through congress again. FIGHT BACK.
Please reblog. If you’re on Facebook, please share. Thanks.
Also, I sent the following via email to a lot of Twitter users who I know follow(ed) me or have followers in common with me:
You’re receiving this email because we very likely have Twitter followers in common.
I logged into Twitter this morning without incident, but then logged into Twitter again this afternoon and found my account was suspended.
and please retweet at least one of the following:
Additionally, please forward this email to anyone you’d like who uses Twitter a lot and who you think may have followers who follow me.
Thank you for helping me stay in touch with the people who have expressed an interest in doing so!
Screenshots for (y)our reference:
And, finally, a screenshot of the email exchange between Twitter and I.
My second Twitter account, @maymaym2, was also suspended this morning. It happened moments after I tweeted a link to a blog post called “Single point of failure is a failure” that describes the dangers of having a centralized, corporate-controlled website as the only game in town for community organizing. The post also describes how to use a tool I wrote over the weekend called the FetLife to iCalendar exporter, which offers people the ability to subscribe to FetLife Events in their Google Calendar.
So, here’s what I suspect is happening, cross-posted from a comment I left about this issue on my Facebook thread:
As many of you know, FetLife.com, aka. BitLove, Inc. has been sending me DMCA takedown notices (and if you don’t, see my comment and #DMCA tweet archives [and #FetLife tweet archives] for details and links to more information about it) that meet the legal definition of frivolous. What this means is that I’ve sent DMCA counter-notices in reply to all the takedown notices I’ve received so far, and FetLife has not challenged any of them. As a result, all of my previous content that was blocked by DMCA takedowns was restored, with the notable exception of Twitter. What’s super frustrating is that when FetLife sent Twitter a takedown notice for my other tweets, I responded with DMCA counter-notices but Twitter never even acknowledged receiving the counter notices. This is different than all other companies I’ve interacted with, which have each restored my content as required by law after receiving a counter-notice that goes unchallenged within 14 days.
Twitter, for some reason, has not acknowledged ever receiving my counter-notices. I’ll be updating my blog post about this issue with a ton more detail, links to old posts, copies of counter-notices, etc., as soon as I have time to take a walk and clear my head so I can respond with appropriate anger instead of with pure rage.
It’s important to note that, regardless of one’s personal opinions about my past interaction with FetLife, sites other than Twitter have received similar DMCA takedown notices and given me the opportunity to counter-notice, in accordance with the law, but Twitter hasn’t even told me why my accounts are being suspended. That’s totally unacceptable and surprisingly out of character for Twitter. If they are responding to another frivolous DMCA takedown notice from FetLife, it’s also illegal on FetLife’s part to do this—I’ve already sent BitLove, Inc. a cease-and-desist.
Also, check out the @FetLifeFail account on Twitter for some true stories that are better than a Hollywood Cold War conspiracy thriller. And, for the record, I have nothing to do with that account.
UPDATE (Sunday, March 10, 2013): After ten days, Twitter unsuspended my account, offered a bogus explanation for my suspension, and ignores all questions
For those wondering, after a week of being suspended from Twitter, I finally heard back from one of their “Trust & Safety” employees. In an email, I had asked the following:
maymaym, Feb 26 01:52 pm (PST):
To whom it may concern at Twitter:
I understand and have read the Twitter Rules. (Several times, actually.) As far as I am aware, my account is NOT in violation of any of them.
Please provide a *specific* reference to behavior on my suspended account you believe is in violation of the Twitter Rules so that we can resolve this matter.
When I heard back from Twitter, it was from an employee calling themselves ikejanes, who wrote the following response:
ikejanes, Mar 05 11:14 am (PST):
Your account has been suspended for posting an individual’s private information such as private email address, physical address, telephone number, or financial documents.
Tweet link: https://twitter.com/maymaym/status/301884463045046272
Tweet content: Philip Edward Plubell “Philip the Foole” Wichita Falls: http://pastebin.com/svPSKgH5 http://paste.org.ru/index.pl?z3ds44 http://goo.gl/SNTMm
Tweet link: https://twitter.com/maymaym/statuses/295680705034346498
Tweet content: Sad how @MidwesternState‘s Philip Plubell blusters through allegations of sadomasochistic sexual assault http://freze.it/1ms /cc @AnnWork1
It is a violation of the Twitter Rules to post the private and confidential information of others. For more information on this policy, please see the following policy page:
If you would like to request your account to be restored, please respond to this email and confirm that you’ve read and understood our rules: http://twitter.com/rules
Please note that future Twitter Rules violations may result in permanent account suspension. We appreciate your cooperation going forward.
Twitter Trust & Safety
maymaym, Mar 05 06:15 pm (PST):
To whom it may concern at Twitter,
I would like to request that my account be restored. I have read and understand the Twitter rules. You cite your Twitter rule at https://support.twitter.com/entries/20169991 which states:
If information was previously posted or displayed elsewhere on the Internet prior to being put on Twitter, it is not a violation of this policy.
In both of the tweets you cite as reasons for my account suspension, the links that contain information about Philip Edward Plubell contain information already posted to the Internet in multiple public venues. There are even “source” URLs enumerating the sources of the information published to the various pastebins—just have a look yourself. Twitter was not the first place this information was linked.
Can you please tell me how my account was even flagged for review in the first place?
I’m asking because I’m concerned that Philip Edward Plubell abused Twitter’s “report” button. He has been accused of horrendous and ongoing sexual assault of a sadomasochistic nature, and now has a vendetta to harass and intimidate me, personally, (see, for instance, [REDACTED]) because I wrote a software tool that some of his victims used to expose his violent behavior. (See http://maybemaimed.com/?p=4480)
Please understand that due to the nature of my work and my current circumstances, Twitter is one of my primary sources of earned income. (See http://maybemaimed.com/cyberbusking/ for details.) This kind of false reporting of my accounts is in itself a method of harassment that has a direct negative impact on my livelihood. It is a far more severe form of abuse than may be readily apparent at first blush.
Plainly, I understand that Twitter is trying to do “the right thing” here, and I genuinely appreciate your due diligence. However, what you have done is punish me for defending myself against a cyber-abuser, one who I’ve expressly articulated my wishes for safety and privacy to and who continues to disrespect those requests.
Please feel free to ask for any additional clarifications you wish.
Three days later, I heard back from ikejanes in the following email:
Your account is now unsuspended, and the violating Tweets have been removed from your profile.
Please note that future Twitter Rules (https://twitter.com/rules) violations may result in permanent account suspension. We appreciate your cooperation going forward.
Twitter Trust & Safety
I tried to log in to my Twitter account when I received the email, but when I tried to access my account I found that I was still suspended. So I wrote another email back to ikejanes:
Hi ikejanes, and whoever else it may concern at Twitter,
Unfortunately, as you can see from the attached screenshot [http://maymay.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Screen-shot-2013-03-08-at-Mar-8-11.53.45-AM.png], and contrary to your statement in the most recent email I received from you, my Twitter account is *not* unsuspended. I’m very disappointed and increasingly frustrated with Twitter for this kind of inconsistent behavior.
Although I appreciate that you apparently chose to unsuspend my account, facts don’t seem to indicate this has actually been done. And it’s incredibly frustrating to me that you are apparently unwilling to acknowledge my explanation or engage with me regarding why the tweets you say you removed from my account are “violations,” when I clearly described why I believe they are not. I also asked a question in my previous email: Can you please tell me how my account was even flagged for review in the first place? This question also seems to have been completely ignored.
However, at this point, I’ll settle for having my account *actually* unsuspended when you *say* you unsuspend my account. So, can you please actually unsuspend my account(s) so that I may log in, instead of just emailing me saying you’ve done this and not actually allowing me to log in?
I appreciate your cooperation going forward.
Then, I shut down my computer and went for another walk. When I returned a couple hours later, my Twitter account had been unsuspended.
This period of being suspended from Twitter taught me a few major things.
First, that email is still a rockin’ way to get people’s attention. Don’t underestimate the power of old media. Lesson learned.
Second, that I (and probably you) have very little reason to trust Twitter to do right by us as individuals. The “violation” of the Twitter Rules the company is (still?) insisting I committed is ridiculous, and provably untrue. I suspect someone (maybe Philip Plubell) abused Twitter’s “report” button. For their part, Twitter just played things safe without ever bothering to do a fucking Google Search to check the facts.
Thanks to Twitter’s obstinate stonewalling, I’ve begun to dramatically change my habits, and I’ll no longer be using Twitter in the same way I did before. It’s simply not safe to rely on a company as a primary information broker between you and the rest of the world.
So if you ever see a link from a blog post of mine to a tweet of mine, please consider it a typo and inform me of the mistake, because it is a mistake. Thanks!