In the wake of CNN threatening to out a critic if he does not limit his speech in the future, former federal prosecutor and First Amendment champion Ken White has published an eminently sensible post about the incoherence of the present moment's views on free speech, and on the way that partisanship causes us to apply a double standard that excuses "our bunch" and damns the "other side." Read the rest
NPR celebrated July 4 by tweeting the Declaration of Independence, one line at a time: when they got to "A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people," America's fragile right-wing broflakes went berserk, unhinged by reality's well-known liberal bias. Read the rest
The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in New York wrote to Donald Trump demanding he unblock a number of users, because when the President blocks a citizen of the United States it's a violation of the Constitution's First Amendment protecting freedom of speech.
I'm skeptical of the project to keep Trump "not normal" -- not because he's not abnormal, but because the human psyche is a relentless normalizer, able to make everything from extermination camps to death row to slavery "normal" and trying not to adapt to stimulus is a hard target to shoot for. Read the rest
Martin Shkreli was suspended from Twitter in January after harassing reporter Lauren Duca there, and reported being permanently banned Thursday. He boasted about setting up a new Twitter account to circumvent the ban, but @TrashyTheCat has now been banned too.
Shkreli is most famous for hiking the cost of the HIV drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill, but he’s also well known for being incredibly obnoxious. After he paid $2 million for the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin he set up a YouTube live stream of him sitting, doing nothing, and teasing that he would play the album. He did not play it at that time, but later streamed clips of it to celebrate Donald Trump being elected as president.Read the rest
Supermute looks like an effective way to avoid avoid spoilers. I'm going to use it to mute anyone who uses the words "cuck," "woo," "dank," "kek," or "lit."
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Supermute is a blunt tool. You can define any phrase you'd like to mute for up to 7 days. During that time period, if anyone in your timeline (including people RTed into your timeline) says that phrase, that account gets muted until the time period is over. Like, their whole account. Capitalization doesn't matter. It'll even pick up partial phrases, so if you mute "horse" you'll also mute people who say "seahorse", or post a link to "http://example.com/horses", and so on. This is useful for muting big conferences/events, avoiding TV spoilers, or just taking a break from certain politicians or topics for an evening.
This uses Twitter's mute function. We keep track here of who you've muted via this tool, so you can check in and see how it's going if you want. We'll never let anyone else know you muted them, promise. We'll also never tweet on your behalf. All we do is mute and unmute. You can even cancel a supermute partway through.
Twitter today dropped a lawsuit it filed on Thursday against the U.S. Homeland Security Department, after saying the DHS withdrew its summons for records about who is operating a Twitter account critical of President Donald Trump.
Twitter's indecisive approach to dealing with trolls, harassment and general abuse—suspected by the paranoid as a symptom its need for growth and reach—confounds users to this day. But the blind eye enables more interesting phenomena, too, such as bot armies pushing fringe stories into the trending tags list.
MicroChip, who operates behind a VPN (a special secure network that obscures his location), is an object of fascination and fear, even among some of his political and ideological fellow travelers, who hope not to end up on the wrong side of one of his Twitter campaigns. One conservative observer of the alt-right, who spoke to BuzzFeed on the condition that his name not be used, claimed he once hired private investigators to trace him. ... MicroChip said the truth, both about his identity and the method he developed for spreading pro-Trump messages on Twitter, is far more prosaic. Though he would not divulge his real name or corroborate his claim, MicroChip said that he is a freelance mobile software developer in his early thirties and lives in Utah. In a conversation over the gaming chat platform Discord, MicroChip, who speaks unaccented, idiomatic American English, said that he guards his identity so closely for two reasons: first, because he fears losing contract work due to his beliefs, and second, because of what he calls an “uninformed” discourse in the media and Washington around Russian influence and botting.
The alt-right botmaster describes himself a "staunch liberal" who was "redpilled" by Islamic terrorism, then figured out how to automate Twitter trends. Read the rest
The thinking behind Twitter's replacement for the troll-favorite egg profile photo is a vaguely human placeholder that is unpleasant enough to encourage people to replace it with a custom icon.
We noticed that some people kept the egg default profile photo because they thought it was fun and cute, but we want people to use this space to show us who they are! The new default image feels more like an empty state or placeholder, and we hope it encourages people to upload images that express themselves.
We’ve noticed patterns of behavior with accounts that are created only to harass others – often they don’t take the time to personalize their accounts. This has created an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior, which isn’t fair to people who are still new to Twitter and haven’t yet personalized their profile photo.
Will it work? Read the rest