What’s the difference between a male feminist and a female feminist? It’s not a gag – there’s a simple and thought-provoking answer. The difference is that the male is in a position to actively address some of the issues he’s fanfaring about. For example, if he believes there’s an unfair gender pay gap of 22%, he can send 11% of his salary to women’s groups. If he believes men should not be invading female spaces, he can take his unsolicited commentary out of women’s Twitter mentions. Is he doing those things? If not, why not?… Continue reading “Trust Me, I’m a Male Feminist!”: Twitter Feminism For Men
I wrote in my Old Usernames article about the importance of Twitter’s User ID in keeping tabs on slippery people’s behaviour. The User ID is a unique account identifier which remains the same however many times the user changes his or her @username. If you know the User ID, you will always be able to find a given Twitter profile (or at least find what’s happened to it) via its numerical URL. The Old Usernames article has more info on the basics.
But what happens if you discover that, say, a group of account @usernames have been switched, and you need to actually prove that the switch has taken place? This can happen with account networks when they try to cloak their origins. And it became important recently when the lead profile in a network of raving political activist accounts rebranded as the main promo feed for an alternative social media platform claiming to be politically impartial. I know, you couldn’t make it up, could you?
I’m not going to publicise the account in question, but it turned out to have gone through at least six @usernames, and it was originally a promo feed for a pitifully unprofessional “travel site”. I wanted, however, to be 100% sure that my old username tracking investigation was entirely accurate. Before I presented the info to anyone else, I needed to be right. And to be absolutely certain, I needed to retrospectively access the User IDs of accounts in the network – as they applied in the past. That would confirm beyond doubt that the usernames had been switched. But how would I get that confirmation?… Continue reading Twitter Detective MasterHack: How To Retrospectively Find A User ID Number
If you haven’t yet seen one, where have you been? On Twitter, supposed “cash giveaways” have become a means for the self-styled “benefactor” to build a vast following, elicit unnaturally high levels of compliance from the public, and make a lot of money. But if there’s no separate terms and conditions page, the cash prize almost certainly doesn’t exist. And even if it does, how would you know? This is a world where the winners are almost never mentioned, let alone identified. It’s just tweet after tweet of…
“RT, Like and Comment to win £5,000 in cash. Must be following me, and must tell me what a fantastic guy I am in the comment, blah, blah.”
That’s the kind of character we’re talking about. Not just spectacularly manipulative, but also childishly egotistical. And there’s no “Congratulations to the winner”. Aside from their occasional, staged convincer ruses, these dudes can’t even be bothered to pretend someone actually won. New day, new giveaway, and it never ends. Continue reading Will Twitter Ban “Cash Giveaway” Accounts?
When ManageFlitter and Crowdfire sat at the epicentre of Twitter follow management tools, usage of those apps helped spread a notion that one of the best targets for unfollowing was the inactive user. And the Twitter ‘manage’ apps made the process of following so-called “inactives” very, very simple.
But in January 2019, a range of Twitter unfollow apps, including both of the aforementioned, had their API access disabled by Twitter. This rendered the best known unfollow tools inoperable. And because these and other apps had such an enormous presence among Twitter users, the effective shutdown of their core functionality actually changed the Twitter landscape – even for those who never used them.
For example, you may recall that this time last year, if you went more than 30 days without updating your timeline, your mutuals would start to unfollow you. That was because ManageFlitter and its derivatives had an “Inactives” unfollow category, which used a 30-day filter to determine who was, or was not, still using Twitter. The implication was that app users should unfollow accounts in the “Inactives” category, and many did. Continue reading Twitter Unfollow Practices: Spammers Are The New Inactives
One of the most fundamental changes in Twitter’s policy ever, was the introduction, at the beginning of March 2017, of proactive moderation. Previously, Twitter had responded to user reports of abuse, offensiveness and spam on an individual basis, but this had largely failed to tackle an endemic problem with low-quality profiles and annoying or distortive spam.
Because Twitter is so huge, the bulk of this new realm of moderation would have to be automated. Twitter thus set to work devising algorithms which could attempt to identify known traits of low-quality or offensive profiles, and then penalise those accounts. Some penalties would be notified to the offending user; others would not. The classic shadowban is not notified to the offending user.
From the start, circa 1st March 2017*, a large number of Twitter profiles were auto-moderated, and dropped out of the search timelines for varying periods of time. The surreptitious measures which rendered many accounts widely invisible, quickly became known as shadowbans.
[*Update 16/4/2019 – I’ve now been able to confirm that tweets were being taken out of search based on shadowban criteria before 1st March 2017, but the measures had their publicised launch on that date.]
EFFECTS OF A SHADOWBAN
There are different types and degrees of shadowban, but most typically, the user’s tweets will drop out of Twitter’s default search results. Depending on why the user is shadowbanned, the following consequences may also apply… Continue reading How To Avoid a Twitter Shadowban
At the beginning of 2015 I addressed the question of hiding the Follower count on Twitter. In the light of Twitter’s more recent consideration of scrapping the Like button, I’m revisiting the subject of public popularity counts, and asking whether it’s time for the platform to wipe them out entirely.
This article is not suggesting that Twitter gets rid of Like buttons, Retweet buttons, notifications relating to the use of those buttons, or summary data for the poster of the content. It’s suggesting that Twitter removes the public display of Like, Retweet, Reply and Follower/Friend counts. The numbers.
WHY ARE ENFORCED PUBLIC POPULARITY COUNTS BAD?
The logic behind forcibly displaying social media users’ popularity counts to the public, is that it strongly motivates platform growth. Crudely put, it shames people into importing fans/friends, or labouring to engage a native audience. In both scenarios, the social sites gain something for nothing. They either gain new users for zero advertising expenditure, or they gain human labour, which will collectively bring a level of value to the platform. Value on the back of which the platform can run ads. That’s the power of shame. Continue reading Why It’s Time For Twitter To Scrap Like, Retweet & Follower Count Displays
One of the questions I see asked a lot on the social web is: “Why does [whatever network] not allow unregistered users to see what I publish?” I understand the frustration. Social networks of this type are normally known as “closed platforms” or “walled gardens”, and they heavily restrict the reach of their members.
In this post I’m going to examine the question, and provide ten separate answers. Just why do some social networks keep all their content locked behind a login and refuse to show it to anyone who isn’t a member? Here goes… Continue reading 10 Reasons Why Social Media Loves To Build Closed Platforms