More Censorship of our research by Twitter

26 Apr , 2018  

We have previously run into trouble with Twitter censoring our activity.  Gavin McGinnis recently posted a Tweet linking to some of our research correcting false statements made by Vox.com on guns.  But Twitter provided the following warning:

So what does “sensitive material” mean?  Apparently, Twitter says that sensitive material is “abusive and offensive” material.  For example, swearing, nudity or violence.  Here’s a discussion from the UK Daily Mail:

“You’re seeing this warning because they tweet sensitive images or language.

‘Do you still want to view it?’

Twitter asks that users who tweet offensive images with nudity or violence flag so in their settings.

Users have had the power to mark specific tweets and content as offensive for some time, but whitewashing entire profiles is unusual.

Twitter did not publicly announce the new feature, and it was first spotted when tech analyst Justin Warren’s profile was censored by the new warning system.

After a follower asked him if he knew of his account’s new status, he replied: ‘No, I didn’t, but now I do.

‘Probably because Americans struggle with swearing as punctuation.’ . . .

The move is part of Twitter’s recent campaign to curtail abusive and offensive behavior on their website. . . .

Twitter is honing in on accounts for ‘abusive behaviour’, such as harassing an account that doesn’t follow them back, or spamming popular hashtags with external links.

Users have theorised that the temporary blocks are also based on abusive keywords, but this has not been confirmed by Twitter.

‘Creating a safer environment for people to freely express themselves is critical to the Twitter community,’ . . .


So what was the sensitive material that Twitter was protecting viewers from?

People can judge for themselves whether our material that McInnes put up a screenshot of qualifies as “abusive and offensive.”



5 Responses

  1. Richard Robertson says:

    I think the word that it may be triggering on is “murders” or variants. Such a word can give a broad hit but it is one that is likely to reflect sensitive material. And “gun” or “guns” too. I would not be surprised if “knives”, “bombs”, “explosives”, etc. or any other weapon type would be included too. “Drugs” is another one. Notification that a posting might have content that a reader might find uncomfortable isn’t censorship. If they were blocked from reading it then that would be the case. The problem with this kind of system is revealed in this article that overbroad terms are going to hit more than they should. It’s a good feature but it should be under user control entirely as to whether it is active or not or what words should trigger the system. Now if they did this to advertise the new feature then there is some argument for what they are doing but they went the wrong way about it.

    • johnrlott says:

      Thanks, Richard, but if the words “guns” and “murder” are enough to trigger the restriction on access, that would mean virtually all discussions on gun control would trigger a similar warning, but that is clearly not the case. If you observe this for many other discussions for gun control, please let me know. I am very interested. Unfortunately, I have only seen this option triggered for those types of posts for us.

  2. Bill says:

    Twitter is inferring a racist message; thus, the reason for the warning.

  3. Jay Dee says:

    Tell Twitter to go forth and multiply with itself and come over to Gab. Here’s a list of replacements for Facebook/Youtube/Google/Yahoo/Twitter (FYGYTs)(Pronounced like Fidgets) crowd.

    Facebook; Switch to MeWe. For shooters, I recommend Gun District. More alternatives are coming.
    Youtube: Switch to Full30, Gun Streamer and Get Zone. More are coming.
    Google; Switch to DuckDuckGo.
    Yahoo; Same as above.
    Twitter; Switch to Gab

    These services have been overrun by social justice idiots. The only way to hurt them is to quit using these services.

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