Friday, November 03, 2017

Do You Use Twitter?

I don’t, but many trans people do and some of them have been running into Twitter censors.
Twitter Has a Transgender Problem
New York Times
By Thorne N. Melcher
November 2, 2017

Following the tragic events in Las Vegas last month, as the gun debate reached new heights of intensity, I joined the fray. Though in favor of increased gun control, I spoke out on Twitter in support of transgender people being able to arm ourselves in self-defense — because, I felt, our newly heightened levels of visibility have led to increased levels of violence against us.

One of my tweets took off. What resulted was a multiday, multi-pronged onslaught of harassment from not only gun-control activists but groups who target transgender people. Ultimately, after days of doing nothing while other users hurled slurs and made threats, Twitter finally took action: It suspended me for 12 hours after I said one of those users was “garbage” for trying to incite further harassment.

If this was an isolated incident, this could be written off as a mistake. But it isn’t just that Twitter makes it easy for users to abuse certain targets with impunity. Pushing back — as the actress Rose McGowan found just days after I did — routinely invites suspensions from the Twitter safety team. This pattern of harassment followed by punishment is particularly acute for transgender users, who are often targets for abuse and for whom the abuse can have serious consequences.
The result of all this is a dangerous power imbalance — it’s often the harassed who pushed back, not the harassers, who find their tweets deleted and their accounts suspended. This imbalance affects the trans community disproportionately: Transgender users who are active on Twitter are often targeted by everyone from social conservatives to so-called feminists espousing transphobic views in the name of “protecting” cisgender women.
This is so typical of bullies, we get picked on and then when we either fight back or comment we are the ones who get “disciplined.”

In schools we get suspended after many pushes, shoves, verbal abuse by the bully so we pushback or say something and wham we get suspended, meanwhile the bully walks away claiming to be a victim. The same goes for Twitter and Facebook, I know of a number of trans people who were put in Facebook prison.

Many times it is not a human making the call,
Twitter’s exact processes for handling abuse reports are a secret, but the company announced earlier this year that many of them are handled algorithmically — servers with not-so-carefully calibrated formulae analyze the reports for signs of harassment. Profanity is treated more seriously than slurs and threats — the mere presence of vulgarity in a reply is often enough, especially when blue checkmarks are involved. (One of the tweets the service flagged when I was suspended, for instance, contained a curse word, though it wasn’t directed at my harasser.) Mass reporting tweets in bad faith, a common tactic of Twitter harassers, is often enough to get a user blocked.
Our haters have learned how to work the “system” in their favor we have to wise up and learn how to work Facebook and Twitter in our favor and don’t fall into the trap that the trolls set for us.

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