For some time now, conservative users of Twitter have been well aware of the Twitter Gulag, the term created to describe unjustified suspensions of conservative accounts, usually done by a small but effective group of opposing users. Now, it’s to be expected that the perpetrators of this silliness and their supporters would deny it’s existence. Unfortunately, it appears as though Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (@dickc) feels the same, saying that our claims of the system being exploited are patently untrue.
@xcitizen10 that is simply not true and not how spam suspension works. It's more sophisticated than that and we suspend, not 3rd parties— dick costolo (@dickc) June 28, 2012
With that rebuke in mind, we here at The Trenches, along with some faithful comrades, decided to test Costolo’s claims, and launched #OpShoqTheMonkey. It was a simple premise, to create some sock accounts and then casually mention Twitter personality @shoq in the tweets, while also mentioning some of the Twitter higher-ups, such as Costolo, Biz Stone (@biz), Jack Dorsey (@jack) and Delbius, (@delbius).
First, we started with the account @MockShoq. We followed a few well-known conservative personalities, and then managed to get a few of our friends to follow as well. A few tweets, and then we started mentioning those listed in the previous paragraphs. The results are as follows:
Now, the tweet that got me dinged, I think, I didn’t have the chance to screencap before the account became suspended. To be honest, it was definitely juvenile, but went something like this : *sprays @shoq * Eyez iz a stinkee kitteh. (with one or two of the bigwigs listed here).
It took less than an hour, and 10 tweets on that account, before the hammer came down and I got suspended. Curious that. So, like good scientists, we decided to run another test. This time we created an account @SexeeeShoq, and went back to see what would happen. A few silly tweets here, staying in character as a horny cat, and then we start in with mentioning @shoq and the others.
So I spent my first few tweets talking to friends through the fake account. Here’s a full screencap of tweets I got off before I got suspended. Please note that in the last couple, @shoq and Twitter peeps are mentioned.
I got one last tweet in, where I asked @Delbius why she would let someone like @shoq try to ruin her product. Shortly afterwards:
So, in both instances, I wasn’t firing tweets off at a rapid pace, and was varying up how I was interacting with other users. Our friends at Diary of Daedalus also participated in #OpShoqTheMonkey, and also ended up in the exact same boat we did. First, the tweet that got them whacked, and then the official email from Twitter.
One could possibly make the argument, at least with @SexeeeShoq , that I was being a bit nasty etc. Well, as someone who once received this honor:
But there can only be ONE ultimate troll. The 2011 Year in Troll award goes to @foolishreporter! Congratulations man.— j (@jopauca) January 4, 2012
The above examples are definitely this:
But I digress. Again, every time we bring #TwitterGulag up, we get called crazy nuts and so on and so forth. Fine. But funnily enough, the target of #OpShoqTheMonkey had one fun tweet in his TL last night, very close to the exact time period we were running the op.
So, Mr. Costolo, Mr. Dorsey or Mr. Stone, care to elaborate further on any counter-claim that #TwitterGulag is NOT a system flaw being maliciously exploited at this time?
We look forward to your thoughts on this subject.