Fresh off of banning political ads, Twitter has now taken to making it easier for its users to report “Lists” that are being used for evil purposes.
“With the update, which is available on iOS now and will be on Android and Twitter’s website ‘soon,’ users are able to report a list the same way they might report an individual tweet. From the list page, the ‘…’ menu will have a ‘Report’ option, which then allows you to flag the list to Twitter,” Mashable confirmed late Monday.
Twitter lists are essentially aggregations of certain peoples’ news feeds. And much like anything else, they can be used for either good or evil.
For an example of evil, consider the “Racists-Fascists” List produced by Nathan Ralph. It includes 300+ Trump supporters, including a “service-connected disabled retired veteran,” all of whom have been smeared by Ralph as racists and fascists.
Access an archive of the List here or see a screenshot below:
Conversely, a Twitter list can used for good purposes, i.e., to better track your friends, your favorite political commentators or simply certain subject matters.
Consider for instance the “Female Bodybuilding and Fitness News” feed put together by the Twitter user Area Orion:
The problems, obviously, are those feeds which have been used to carry out evil.
“Though Twitter launched lists as a convenience for users, the feature has been widely abused by trolls who use lists to target specific groups of users,” Mashable noted. “Those lists are often shared on forums outside of Twitter in order to make it easier for others to target those same individuals.”
“Up until now, people facing this type of harassment had to block the list creator, which would then remove them from any offending lists. Or, they could choose to report the user individually, which required several extra steps. (Blocking a list creator will still remove you from their lists, but that is no longer the only option available.)”
And to be clear, it seems many have faced this sort of harassment:
If you’re a woman with a verified account or a lot of followers, and you’ve experienced swarms and targeted harassment, here’s a reminder to check what lists you’re on. Block all list creators you don’t know. https://t.co/EYRPP9twJz
— Heidi N. Moore (@moorehn) March 17, 2019
A reminder to folks who experience a lot of harassment on this hellscape platform:
Periodically check what lists you’ve been put on.
Block the people who host you on a list.
For example: One user THAT MANY OF YOU FOLLOW had me on all these lists.
Boy, byeeeee pic.twitter.com/ZUcbBlayZg
— Julie S. Lalonde (@JulieSLalonde) October 10, 2019
I really dislike how Twitter lists work. Are they ever used for anything else than harassment?
— Johan Kristian Milde (@Johkmil) November 15, 2019
Everyone, block and report this account https://t.co/ovtJGJEYFA for targeted harassment. And @TwitterSupport better do something instead of sleeping. This person added me to TWELVE lists with the precise purpose of harassing and redirecting trolls to my TL. DO SOMETHING @Twitter
— Ale (@aliasvaughn) April 8, 2018
Twitter hides comments with swear words, but they’re A-OK with their users adding women (me) to hit lists for targeted harassment.
— Kara Calavera (@KaraCalavera) July 15, 2017
Friendly Reminder: Check the lists you’ve been added to on Twitter, trolls use them target people for harassment. pic.twitter.com/M0YEYEN5qC
— Fangirl Jeanne (@fangirlJeanne) March 9, 2016
I see many friends being banned today for possible inappropriate behavior.
What I don’t see is Twitter doing anything about the lists we get added to.
How is this type of harassment okay!?
Who thinks this needs to stop?
I follow back!!
— LazyMeatball (@LazyMeatball) January 21, 2019
Thanks to the social media network’s latest update, there’s now an additional option to dealing with this harassment. What remains unclear however is whether Twitter will treat claims of abuse equally. Its past record suggests it won’t.
Twitter has repeatedly been accused of maintaining double standards wherein liberal Twitter users are punished for certain actions, while their conservative counterparts are not.
Conservative activist Candace Owens provided an example of this last year by tweeting near-verbatim copies of racist anti-white tweets that had been posted by then-New York Times’ editorial board member Sarah Jeong.
“Dumba– f–king white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants,” one of the original tweets by Jeong read.
More of her since-voluntarily removed tweets can be seen below:
Democrats have redefined racism precisely so people like Sarah Jeong can say racist things and still get jobs at the New York Times. pic.twitter.com/ibjWFy5NLi
— Will Chamberlain (@willchamberlain) August 2, 2018
For some inexplicable reason, the racist tweets were never removed by Twitter. And so to test whether a double standard exists, Owens posted a near-verbatim copy of the tweets, but replaced “white people” with “Jews.”
Within moments of the tweet being posted, Twitter suspended Owens for 12 hours, all while ignoring Jeong’s tweets. After being called out for the double standards, the social media network finally reversed course by restoring Owens’ tweet.
In response, Owens suggested that the right thing to do would have been to remove Jeong’s tweet and also suspend her.
“The thing is, I wouldn’t have minded if I was locked out, because I actually agree with Twitter that that language is inappropriate,” she explained to The Daily Caller.
“My point in tweeting that and replacing the word with black and Jewish yesterday was to show how different that mentality is when you see it in that context and you see talking about Jewish people and predisposed to burning under the sun or black people saying they should live underground.”
“It’s horrifically racist, but somehow we’ve gotten to a point in society where it’s OK to say the exact same thing about white people, and that’s problematic.”
And the fact that Twitter apparently gleaned the entirely wrong lesson from the debacle suggests that it would behoove conservatives to be wary of its latest update.
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