On Tuesday, a prominent Palestinian-American journalist covering live protests near Jerusalem was abruptly and mysteriously silenced on Twitter – each tweet was replaced with the message “@ MariamBarghouti account is temporarily unavailable because it violates Twitter’s media policies.” It was a mistakethe company was quickly recognized and its tweets were quickly recovered.
But it turns out that one part of the incident was not error. While Twitter may have taken action against that person’s account in error, there is actually one specific situation where Twitter reserves the right to make your tweets disappear. And – if you ask me – it’s super, super stupid.
I’ve been on Twitter my whole life and I’ve never seen what they do with a Palestinian journalist’s account before. pic.twitter.com/z6bSmLCvNn
The Requirement to Edit Media or Profile Policy states: “If an account profile or media content does not comply with our policies, we may make it temporarily unavailable and require the offending person to edit the media or information in their profile in accordance with our policies. We also explain what policy their profile or media content violated. “
Or, in simple terms, if your profile picture, header image, or other image you post doesn’t meet Twitter standards, Twitter won’t just censor that image – it can censor your entire account until you fix it.
Why should Twitter notify people of a bad image in every tweet from an author, instead of just omitting the image and perhaps giving an explanation? We’ve seen many, many instances of Twitter over the past few years. the choice to a placewarning labelsnearby offensive and malicious content, labels that still make it easy for people to view these tweets.
When I raised this issue, a Twitter spokesperson would only say that this policy is designed to “better inform people about the actions Twitter is taking.” The company declined to say more.
The most generous explanation I can find is that this is an old, outdated policy that should have been abandoned long ago.
Twitter also initially limited Barghouti’s ability to tweet, retweet, follow, and like for 12 hours, according to screenshots she provided. Facets… It is unclear why her account was initially mistakenly censored; Twitter couldn’t tell right away if it was a human action or an automated system.
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