Archive for April, 2022

Twitter, where art thou?

5 April, 2022

A strange thing happened to me at the end of February: I got banned from Twitter FOR LIFE.

Yes, for LIFE: @edrybicki, my handle for 12+ years and which has 4000-odd followers, is no more.

How, you ask? After all, I’m not a malignant orange narcissist, or someone guilty of war crimes, or someone who peddles lies about vaccines or diseases, or threatens violence to all and sundry.

Except, according to Twitter Central, I AM that last thing.

Some context here: my long-time Twitter and social media friend Ian Mackay put up the next in a long series of cat pictures that he takes in his garden, while walking his cats – all dressed up in their little harnesses. This is it:

mackay cat

To which I replied, in the spirit of things,

“@MackayIM Come near me with that feckin’ lead and I rip your face…”

It was a bit of a surprise later that I discovered I couldn’t tweet anything – and when I reloaded Twitter on my browser to fix it, I get this message:

So I submit an appeal, with the facts of the case, and get this:

Hello,

After investigating your appeal, we have determined that your account posted content that was threatening and/or promoting violence in violation of the Twitter Terms of Service. Accordingly, your account has been suspended and will not be restored.

I looked up why, and got this:

Specifically, for:

“Violating our rules against posting violent threats. You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people.”

I submitted ANOTHER appeal, with the facts as shown, and got this:

Hello,

We’re reviewing your appeal. 

We’ll respond as soon as possible, and we appreciate your patience while we review your account. 

Thanks,

Twitter

And…nothing. I have tried to submit appeals again twice, and get exactly the same responses, meaning there are NO humans in the loop AT ALL.

Let me reiterate: this was in response to a picture of a CAT wearing a harness and standing on its hind legs, looking aggressive. This was in NO way a threat of violence against anyone, or demonstrating aggression. It was harmless, in Ian’s (@mackayim) own words in an email supporting my previous appeal:

Re: Case# 0255238514: Appealing an account suspension – @edrybicki    [ ref:_00DA0K0A8._5

Please Twitter support, this was friendly banter and the mimicry of a cat!

This was not violent or in any way intending harm to me as the recipient.

Could you revoke this block? There is no harm done here.

Still nothing.

I have pointed out that ” I am a well-respected Twitter user who uses his account to inform the lay public and students about viruses, and in fact directly for teaching University-level undergraduates and informing people about vaccines”, and that I have never – in more than 12 years – threatened anyone with anything. Moreover, I have even extolled the virtues of using Twitter and other social media for teaching purposes – see here – and firmly believe in this, and am now unable to do it.

Nothing.

I am now in a situation where I have to get the 5-odd essential articles I used to pick up on every day second-hand, via emails from sympathetic tweeps or from my students. I also cannot engage in idle banter with the MANY folk I used to interact with, and I seriously miss it. I am also getting messages via platforms as diverse as LinkedIn, ResearchGate and Facebook asking me what happened to @edrybicki – and I can only say “ask Twitter”.

So please do that, won’t you, if you see this?

Thank you.