For anyone familiar with the Conservative communities of Twitter, the hashtag #TwitterGulag is probably familiar by now. If you’re not familiar, it’s the term adopted after a spate of accounts began to be suspended for barely discernible reasons. Users brand new to Twitter who looked to be part of the Conservative community, and even some that were relatively well established, fell victim to the fun little system exploit that a select group of Lefties discovered and began to spread among their circles. It’s been an ongoing problem that Twitter is well aware of. Brooks Bayne originally wrote about this exploit in 2008.
How it Works:
Thanks to the work of Twitter user @SemperBanU (SBU) (give a follow, if you feel like it), the exploit, and how it was disseminated among Lefty’s has become apparent. According to SBU, what the Lefty jerks discovered is that the “block and report for spam feature” IS COMPLETELY AUTOMATED. There is not a human sitting at the other end to review the reports, there’s just a computer, and like any machine, it can be fooled.
So let’s say you’re a new Twitter user. You find your way to the #tcot realm, and start following certain prominent conservatives, like Dana Loesch (@DLoesch), or Sean Hannity (@SeanHannity). You see that they will sometimes reply to random fellow conservative users. So you start to @ reply their tweets, in hopes of becoming part of the conversation or getting a retweet.
Now, here comes the system exploit. So when you @ reply them, the Twitter system sees this as an “unsolicited reply”, meaning you are tweeting the person without them having asked you to. (Much like Spambots do.) Now, a large quantity of “unsolicited” replies, along with an imbalanced following/follower ratio, and what will that computer think? That you’re a spambot yourself.
THE CONTENT OF YOUR TWEETS IS NOT IMPORTANT. IT’S HOW YOU ARE OPERATING WITHIN THE SYSTEM.
So if some of the Lefty’s that are aware of this exploit happen across you , they can hit you with the “Block and Report for Spam” button, and the Twitter computer at the other end will look at those factors, see that it meets the criteria, and suspend the account. SBU also notes that along with @ replies, diving into a hashtag too vigorously can also make one vulnerable. Think #STOPRUSH and some of the users who seemed to get dinged by this attack when they wandered into that tag.
Another warning issued by SBU is the fact that diving into fights with Lefty twitter users is a good way to have this attack launched against you.
SBU advises that users hit by this attack file a ticket with @support. He notes that if it seems they’re being a long time coming in responding to your to filing, to just be patient. If you submit one ticket, get frustrated and re-submit, then you essentially reset the clock on having an real human take a look at your situation.
According to SBU, the originator of this attack seems to be one Neal Rauhauser. (Shocking I know). At the beginning of April, Rauhauser began to contact Charles Johnson (@lizardoid and of Little Green Footballs fame), an unholy alliance if there ever was one. Rauhauser passed this fun little exploit along to Jazzytail (Charles – see: his ponytail), and Jazzytail passed it along to HIS followers and comrades, with the specific intent of targeting conservative types.
SBU gathered some intel on Jazzytail and Co. actively using and talking about this campaign:
Jazzytail warning us “wingnuts” to be nice or we’ll get sent to the #TwitterGulag:
Jazzytail’s gestapo actively collaborating to send a user to #TwitterGulag :
Jazzytail’s gestapo confirming a successful attack:
We’ll be reporting more about this story soon.
Now here’s the question we have to ask ourselves, my friends. This tactic has been employed for a fair amount of time now, with a large segment of the #tcot community providing constant complaint to Twitter about it. And so far, nothing appears to be happening.
We can adjust our habits, but I’d rather not. This is an attack meant to discourage people from freely associating with those they want to, and there can be no doubt that it is, indeed, an attack on free speech. Hit one of Jazzytail’s criteria, and he’ll send his henchmen your way to click that Block and Report button.
But, seeing as how Twitter’s liberal bias is pretty well confirmed, perhaps if fire was fought with fire here, and a bunch of butthurt Lefty’s start complaining to Twitter about this particular exploit, something might actually happen.
Think on it.