Users on Twitter are noticing that their accounts are being limited by the service after they tweet expressions of gratitude to shadowbanned accounts.
Although Twitter refuses to acknowledge its practice of “shadowbanning,” or limiting user accounts from having a wider reach without informing them, some users have accidentally triggered Twitter’s automated algorithms that caused their accounts to be restricted.
Users across both Twitter and Reddit documented the instances where their accounts were locked for exhibiting “automated behavior that violates the Twitter Rules.”
Posting on Reddit’s r/technology community, a user named ShokTherapy claims that tweeting your gratitude (i.e. “thanks” or “thank you”) at a shadowbanned user can cause your account to be locked or shadowbanned.
Users on Twitter have been posting examples of their own locks, as shared by @mlickles, causing a huge chain of accounts to be restricted in turn as users posted “thanks” to test the algorithm.
WARNING: DO NOT say the phrases underlined these pictures. You will get your account locked for doing so. Why Twitter would bar you for a word used to show gratitude, is beyond me.
“Please do not actually attempt this, it happened to me by accident and I am attempting to share it here so that it can possibly get some attention. I have been sending ticket after ticket to twitter support trying to explain the exploit and they will not respond,” the user wrote.
It’s no secret that Twitter has been experimenting with automated systems to moderate its platform, and the best way for the company to maintain user activity is to give them the false impression that their accounts are getting proper public engagement—just as the platform was designed for—without letting them know that their accounts are limited when they break the rules.
More insidiously, the system allows Twitter to perform censorship without the knowledge of its users, dictating and molding public opinion in a seemingly organic manner. If people know they are banned, they’d just find another platform to spread their opinions.
After all, no one is going to complain about censorship if they don’t know they’re being censored.
Now they do. Thanks, Twitter.
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