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Buckle up on Buckle Up.

There is something undeniably reassuring about pinning the blame for a frightening and dangerous problem on a single individual. It doesn’t make the problem go away, but it does make it comprehensible. If you believe that you can pinpoint exactly why and how things came to be so broken, if you can trace it back like a single thread in a dandy’s coat, you can pretend to yourself, even briefly, that those problems be fixed.

In fact, taking a dramatically reductive view of the past is very much in keeping with a particular kind of anti-intellectualist sentiment — the one that assumes, or pretends to assume, that no one actually likes “difficult” books or movies or art, and that they are only saying they do in order to seem smart or trick someone into having sex with them. There is a lot of it going around, lately, a lot of people trying and failing to strike a tonally consistent register that lies somewhere between “I am sophisticated enough to complicatedly enjoy things that stupid people like” and “Fuck you for even suggesting that it is possible to draw a distinction between smart things and dumb things: they are the same.”

Rosa Lyster on difficulties.

This is in response to the rise of what the author refers to as Buckle Up Twitter and what anyone who’s ever been on Tumblr for more than five seconds will recognize as “Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck authorial voice repurposed by teenagers having Baby’s First Revelation about [insert random socio-historical issue here].”1

  1. Also: in some fandoms, a lot of fic, which tends to be written with the same sort of affect… looking at you, tag:stucky sort-by:kudos. []
2019-04-30T12:47:37+11:0011th October, 2019|Tags: culture, twitter|

More speech than others.

In a study by George Washington University comparing white nationalists and ISIS social media usage, Twitter’s freedom of speech was not granted to ISIS. Twitter suspended 1,100 accounts related to ISIS whereas it suspended only seven accounts related to Nazis, white nationalism, and white supremacy, despite the accounts having more than seven times the followers, and tweeting 25 times more than the ISIS accounts. Twitter here made a moral judgment that the fewer, less active, and less influential ISIS accounts were somehow not welcome on their platform, whereas the prolific and burgeoning Nazi and white supremacy accounts were.

So, Twitter has shown that it won’t protect free speech at all costs or for all users. We can only conclude that Twitter is either intentionally protecting white supremacy or simply doesn’t think it’s very dangerous. Regardless of which it is (I think I know), the outcome does not change the fact that white supremacy is running rampant on its platforms and many others.

Tatiana Mac asks whose peaches?

On a charitable reading, it’s possible Twitter experiences more direct legal pressure (e.g. from law enforcement and/or intelligence agencies) to shut-down certain types of extremist content than others, which is a manifestation of shitty trends within the broader sociopolitical spectrum but also, on the flip side, not exactly exonerating…

2019-04-29T12:06:53+11:0018th September, 2019|Tags: culture, social media, twitter|

280 nonsense.

A conversation with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey can be incredibly disorienting. Not because he’s particularly clever or thought-provoking, but because he sounds like he should be. He takes long pauses before he speaks. He furrows his brow, setting you up for a considered response from the man many have called a genius. The words themselves sound like they should probably mean something, too. Dorsey is just hard enough to follow that it’s easy to assume that any confusion is your own fault, and that if you just listen a little more or think a little harder, whatever he’s saying will finally start to make sense.

Whether Dorsey does this all deliberately or not, the reason his impassioned defenses of Twitter sound like gibberish is because they are.

Ashley Feinberg @s Jack.

Wo-oo-oo-ow, lol.

2019-04-29T12:06:40+11:008th July, 2019|Tags: social media, tech, twitter|

Followers-as-a-weapon.

I won’t lie; I’ve always kind of wondered1 about the idea of buying followers for someone else’s social media account as a weapon against their reputation.

  1. Like, in the abstract. ‘Cause, like. Wondering about this sort of stuff is literally my day job. []
2018-05-15T08:53:53+11:0011th November, 2018|Tags: social media, tech, twitter|

Ass-backward.

On the one hand, this is a hilariously unflattering profile of Twitter. On the other… I’m not sure I’m su-uu-uu-uper okay with the whole “glass cliff” vibe of blaming (female) head of Trust & Safety for, like, the entirely of Twitter’s Nazi problem. So… yanno. There’s that.

2018-02-23T07:56:16+11:0011th August, 2018|Tags: social media, tech, twitter|

“It’s not a shadow, it’s just a spot where the light isn’t.”

Twitter on shadowbanning. My favourite part is this (emphasis added):

We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.

We do rank tweets and search results. We do this because Twitter is most useful when it’s immediately relevant. These ranking models take many signals into consideration to best organize tweets for timely relevance.

In other words, “We don’t shadowban… except when we totally do (because we’re too chickenshit to actually moderate our platform properly).”

Polite reminder in these turbulent times that Mastodon is totally a thing.

2018-08-02T13:25:34+11:002nd August, 2018|Tags: social media, twitter|

WTF, Twitter?

Apparently Twitter is killing third-party apps:

After June 19th, 2018, “streaming services” at Twitter will be removed. This means two things for third-party apps:

  1. Push notifications will no longer arrive
  2. Timelines won’t refresh automatically

If you use an app like Talon, Tweetbot, Tweetings, or Twitterrific, there is no way for its developer to fix these issues.

So much WTFery but, let’s face it, this has been coming for a while now; Twitter has no way of monetizing other than by serving ads, and the reason people use third-party Twitter clients is they don’t serve ads. See also: every decision Twitter has made re. “algorithmic feeds” and the like.1

But, yanno hey. Whenever Twitter is a trashfire just remember, there’s always Mastodon

  1. See also see also: Tumblr, which went through a similar thing when it killed off the xkit mobile app. []
2018-04-27T14:04:26+11:009th April, 2018|Tags: social media, twitter|

Fuck Twitter.

Jack Dorsey has time to shop for slim-cut “Stay Woke” shirts but apparently it was a low priority problem to learn what abuse on Twitter looked like and filter it out. Twitter-the-company is made up of people that have consistently made poor, self-serving decisions while patting themselves on the back for making the world more connected. Well, fuck you all. You gluttons helped put us all here and now suddenly you might come up with an algorithm to spot Nazis? Here’s an idea to put on your fucking Trello board: Look for avatars with swastikas on day one. Take day two off to recover from your code bash hangover. Day three you can look for accounts that mostly post negative sentiments (using a Python library that’s five years old) and then map their connections to find another Nazi pool-party. On day four, take another break. You deserve a rest for waiting a decade to do even the smallest amount of engineering work to make the world better. Day five might be busy while your executives are explaining to congress why you actively assisted a foreign government to spread disinformation during the US election. Also, enjoy your weekend you fucks.

Gabe Weatherhead on leaving Twitter.

My “moral compromise” position with Twitter is that, a) I don’t use their official (ad-showing) clients, and b) I remove my content from their services after a period of a few months. These are, I will admit, imperfect reactions when, really? I should just bail on the platform altogether…

2017-11-10T10:31:29+11:009th November, 2017|Tags: culture, social media, twitter|