The Monday before Thanksgiving, I awoke to my personal nightmare: I had been reported for abuse on Twitter (my favorite thing to look at while I crap), and my account was frozen.
I wasn’t totally shocked, but I was surprised the situation had gone this far. More importantly, the experience gave me unique insight into how Twitter’s moderation system actually works, from the inconsistent replies it gave to people who reported my tweets to its complete silence after I filled out an “appeal” to reinstate my account.
A few days before, I got a flood of replies to an old tweet from 2011 that said “kill all white people”.
I’m sure in 2011 I thought this was a funny joke (look carefully, and you will notice the Ironic Capitalization), though it’s not so funny now when there are Literal Nazis running amok. The ironic thing about Literal Nazis is that they have weaponized taking things literally. And that’s what they did here.
The day before my tweet was reported, Twitter had de-verified Richard Spencer and a few other high-profile white nationalist accounts. In response, their supporters wanted to expose Twitter’s supposed hypocrisy for allowing verified users to tweet mean things about white people.
A few larger white nationalist or alt-right Twitter accounts shared my tweet as well as some similar ones from verified users. My guess is someone just searched a few phrases like “I hate white people” and picked out the verified accounts. Someone even…