Are Your Tweets Being Seen?

The Playground Called Twitter

by Isabella

Some time back, I wrote a blog concerning “ghost-banning”. It’s about what happens when you’ve been reported for spam, or some other sin on social media, and then, whilst you are being scrutinised by the social media app you’ve offended (whether real or imagined) some of your rights, or privileges in the social media setting are withheld from your use. As in my case on Twitter, I am ghost-banned, and my tweets aren’t searchable under hashtags or in social networking hours.

At last writing, I wasn’t really sure why I had been stripped of my “searchability”, making it difficult to join in the networking hours as no one could “see” my tweets. I’m still not sure because Twitter never tells.  I won’t explain this phenomenon any further here. If you need more information, please read my previous blog. I’ve typed its explanation so often I can repeat it verbatim in my sleep.  You can refer to my earlier blog if you need more information on how to find out if you are ghost-banned:

Social Media and the Modern-Day Witchfinder General

http://bit.ly/2bS2ZIA

For actual spammers, this is fine. It’s a tool for Twitter to stop some (not all, clearly) of the abuse that happens on its platform.  However, there MUST be a way for the innocent to be able to have their account reinstated, to have their account really looked at without assumptions by @support. In order to do that, Twitter needs to implement a proper way for ghost-banned tweeters to put in a ticket. Presently a suspended account has that right, as well should the ghost-banned account.  Not all accounts that have been ghost-banned are necessarily guilty as charged.

Presently, the only way to contact Twitter for non-searchability  is here:

https://support.twitter.com/forms/feature_report?feature=search

Before we go any further in this thesis, let me show you what you can expect when you visit. Firstly, you will find boxes to tick for whichever issue you have. The first or the third one will do for ghost-banishment or “inability to be searched”. I’ve sent so many of these in (to no avail) that I just take turns using those two.

Screencap 1

Next, you will choose something from the drop-down menu. It really doesn’t matter which you choose because, quite frankly, “all of the above” comes to mind. I really think if they do nothing else, that option should be added to this menu. But, go on, make a choice and carry on.

Screencap 2

You now have 500 characters to state your case. I know..makes you feel positively giddy to see 500 characters and not 140, doesn’t it? Don’t get too excited because in reality, you need more. Find an online character counter to save yourself time and to help you figure out the least amount of words to make the best impression.

Screencap 1a

 

And make a good impression, please. I know you’re angry, hurt, full of “how dare theys” but you do not want to reflect that attitude or Twitter will push your “ticket” to the bottom of the heap. And I am sure they have quite a heap by now. Simply state who you are (first name) and what you mostly use Twitter for (ie, a business advertising your product, etc), how you are unsearchable, would someone please look at your account as this has hurt your revenue, that you are sorry for whatever it was you’ve done and thank them.

Just because I have never heard back from Twitter doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I have talked to at least 3 people who have put in a ticket to Twitter and their accounts have since been restored, although Twitter did not contact them, nor did they confirm these accounts had been ghost-banned in the first place.  So, give it a go and good luck. Lastly, once you have filled in the form and pressed send this is what you will see:

Screencap 3

This will hardly fill your heart with hope. It makes you feel as though all this *might* do is give Twitter ideas on how to improve things but thus far, it hasn’t. Who knows? Maybe after the gajillionth entry, perhaps someone will get the idea?

If you’re not ghost-banned, there is a plethora of literature on the web on how NOT to be ghost-banned.  Many people don’t take the time to learn the rules. I must confess I have been guilty as well. Still, as with all forms of social media, I personally attempt at all times to live up to the good common sense my father taught me and not to air my dirty washing as my mum taught me. It would never occur to me to threaten another person in any mode of discussion, whether it be online or in person. If I have over-tweeted on occasion, whether it be my own wares or retweeting someone else’s, I can promise, it was not meant to be spammy. If anything, I am guilty of wanting to be helpful, possibly too much so! Particularly if it this desire to help my fellow tweeters landed me in my own private ghost town.

But, what about when another party becomes angry with another tweeter?  How could a person who did not know they were involved become involved only because they were “guilty by association” with the tweeter who has been targeted? What if that person and all associated with that person become the target of an angry group of tweeters wishing to do them ill?  Because as we know, all it takes is a “playground war” on Twitter and enough people reporting a person with whom they’re angry – no matter which side is right or wrong – people will be ghost-banned.

This would now become a terrible form of bullying. And, as unpopular as I’m sure this will make me with Twitter…isn’t this tantamount to what is happening when they ghost-ban a tweeter leaving them with absolutely NO ability to ask for a solution? If you are suspended, you can file a proper ticket and get help. If you are ghost-banned, you are out of luck, mate. In Twitter’s efforts to thwart bullying, they have become the bully. In their efforts to thwart spam, they have become the spammer with every other tweet a promoted tweet.

It seems a bad move on Twitter’s part to leave who “lives and who dies” up to the masses. I don’t mean to say that people should not be able to protect themselves..not at all. That is why we have the ability to mute and block. If you don’t want to see it, then click one of these. End of. But it seems to me that it is all too easy to report a person for some real or imagined wrong-doing. I want to believe that Twitter’s heart may have been in the right place by giving us these tools, however, Twitter’s owner(s) are still 100% accountable for happens from that point forward. It is my understanding that @support investigates a person’s Twitter account and in many cases, leave it “ghosted” until they have satisfied themselves the account holder is guilty as charged. But as with any business with millions of customers, is their @support coping with all of the charges being brought up on so many accounts?

I have a solution to this, should Twitter be reading. First, let me say that you can keep the “ghost banning” in effect to stop spammers! I realise what your intentions are in using it, but what I ask is that you provide legitimate, non-spamming people a way to contest it when they find out they are being ghost-banned.

If Twitter cares about being fair to their tweeters they would agree to this but I wonder if they do care.  It was down to a knee-jerk decision to implement ghost-banning to begin with because Twitter didn’t want to have to police the tweeters themselves; just leave it to the general population to “police” each other by reporting for spam and other things, whether guilty or not.

Just to have an idea of how they might agree with my opinion you can read here:

http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/twitter-boss-admits-company-sucks-at-dealing-with-abusive-trolls/0144769

If you are reading this blog and would like to see a petition sent to Twitter for re-evaluation of their support for people who have, most probably, been ghost-banned without being guilty, please sign our petition:

https://www.change.org/p/twitter-support-for-twitter-s-re-evaluation-of-support-policies-for-ghost-banning?recruiter=22124260&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

Many thanks for reading. The Twitter account you save might be your own.

ghostbanned

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