Twitter eats itself?

posted at 8:41 am on April 30, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I suppose it was just a matter of time before Twitter became completely unmanageable.  After all, a self-policing population only works when the population is mature enough to handle the responsibility.  Using the spam-reporting mechanism built into Twitter and its after-market applications, liberal activists are succeeding in tricking the Twitter system into suspending the accounts of conservatives — for instance, my friend Chris Loesch, husband of Breitbart editor Dana Loesch:

Conservative Chris Loesch, music producer and husband of radio host and CNN contributor Dana Loesch, had his Twitter account suspended on Sunday. He was apparently targeted by leftist users who utilized the “Block & Report Spam” function to trigger the social media account’s automatic spam algorithm. He was notified of his suspension via an email from Twitter claiming it was due to multiple unsolicited mentions to other users. “You will need to change your behavior to continue using Twitter,” the email admonished.

“I never threatened anyone and am careful about being concise with what I write especially in public,” Mr. Loesch told The Washington Times. “They were going to make me sign this note that said one more infraction and I would be permanently banned. I wasn’t going to do that so I wrote emails to some of their people.” …

Mr. Loesch believes the spam-reporting campaign was kicked off by comments he made in defense of his wife. “It was business as usual for her I suppose,” he said. “Veiled threats, rape and murder comments, the typical liberal misogynist slag. Being the chivalrous and testosterone filled being I am requires me to protect the woman I love and call out the haters for being the ‘anonymous internet tough guys’ they are…Needless to say they don’t like being called out and struck back by reporting me as a spammer or worse.”

Chris, like the rest of the Breitbart crew, actively engages his detractors on Twitter.  (I tend to ignore them on Twitter, but that’s mostly because life is too short, and I have a pretty good platform for my views at Hot Air.)  It turns out that detractors don’t like engagement … they just like to bully people.  Instead of responding to Chris’ arguments, they began organizing an effort to force Twitter into suspending him by reporting his Twitter stream as spam.

Here’s the problem.  There actually is a ton of spam on Twitter, usually triggered by key words picked up by autobot searches.  In the ideal model — and one that had been working fairly well until now — legitimate Twitter users would report the spam, and Twitter would suspend the accounts.  That keeps traffic moving smoothly (a performance level that Twitter occasionally fails to maintain anyway) and disincentivizes spammers, at least to some extent.  Now that the Left is abusing the spam mechanism, Twitter will almost certainly have to suspend its use, which means the only people who will win this game are the spammers, and we’ll have no way to deal with the flood of annoying marketing messages.

Gee, thanks, progressive activists!

And it’s not as if they’re hiding their abuse of the system, either:

Conservatives suspect a coordinated campaign to report as spam users with whom liberal users disagree. Several users sent out tweets bragging about getting Mr. Loesch blocked, including one claiming “my life job to make conservatives lives miserable.”

Twitchy has two articles on the subject in the last few hours, both of which collate some of the bragging done by progressive activists.  Be sure to read through both, but I’ll spoil the (non)surprise a bit.  At least a couple of these progressive activists are the same #StopRush members trying to force Rush Limbaugh off the air, for the same reason — because they can’t compete with him.  If they could compete with Chris and the other conservatives on Twitter, they wouldn’t have to abuse the spam mechanism on Twitter to shut them up.


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