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The Free Speech Wars, part 2
Appeals, Rejections, and the Removal of Shadow Bans
Twitter’s new rules are here and the appeals process is open.
In this followup to last week’s article The Free Speech Wars (part 1), we’re going to look at the latest from Twitter’s “Safety” (censorship) department and follow along as I appeal the permanent suspensions of my original two accounts and attempt to get shadow bans removed from a third account (the backup-to-the-backup account).
Last week’s article has been locked and reserved for my paid Substackers and will unlock tomorrow morning to the general public. If you haven’t read that yet and you’re interested in how censorship and shadow banning is affecting Twitter users, I highly recommend it.
This followup report will likewise be reserved to my paid Substackers for the next week. It is a timely and relevant report with the latest information.
So let’s dive in.
The day after The Free Speech Wars (part 1) went out to my paid Substackers, Twitter announced they were opening up a new appeals process.
The new appeals process allows anyone to appeal a suspension even if they were permanently suspended (as I was on my first two Twitter accounts).
Twitter Safety (again to be clear, this is their CENSORSHIP DEPARTMENT) went on to discuss their new rules in a thread:
Twitter says they did not reinstate accounts that were engaged in illegal activity, threats of harm or violence, large-scale spam, platform manipulation, or if the account was suspended a long time ago and there was no recent appeal.
That last one about no recent appeal is interesting, as at least with my two permanently suspended accounts, when my appeals were rejected I was informed in no uncertain terms that I could not appeal further, and that emails from my email address linked to the suspended accounts would no longer be monitored.
The thread continues by stating that going forward, Twitter will take what they’re calling “less severe actions” such as limiting the reach of certain tweets (shadow banning) or asking you to remove tweets before you can continue using your account.
In terms of what they consider “severe violations” Twitter goes back to illegal activity, inciting or threatening harm or violence, privacy violations, platform manipulation, spam, or targeted harassment of other Twitter users.
Twitter also announced they are going to be releasing new features soon to let users know when enforcement actions have been taken.
One user thanked Twitter for the update and commented that Twitter should re-write their policy to be consistent with their amnesty criteria.
Specifically that permanent bans should be rare and reserved for illegal conduct and bots/spam. And also that violations should be transparent to all, with public info displayed on the account showing the exact tweet and rule broken).
This of course could present a problem when Twitter wants certain content removed, but in terms of transparency and restoring trust to the platform, it’s not a bad idea.
Another user commented that many of the still suspended accounts were suspended for spamming that they never did.
The promise to reinstate some accounts is not across-the-board popular on Twitter.
One disgruntled user posted a “thumbs down” meme and complained that if any users are reinstated for any reason, “they won’t learn their lesson.”
On the side of amnesty, one user asked Twitter if it wouldn’t be better to simply reinstate ALL accounts, and give everyone a clean slate under the “new criteria” going forward.
For the sake of transparency, I don’t know this user but I happen to share his/her opinion on the matter.
“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” -Peter Townshend
The new appeals process works exactly like the old one.
To appeal an account suspension or features lock, start at this link:
You’ll see a page similar to this. It may display different information depending on the status of your account. This is what it looks like if you’re logged into a suspended or locked account:
All you do is enter your Twitter username, your email address, and describe your problem.
I sent 3 different appeals (I had to log out and then log in each time under each account to file all 3 appeals).
My first appeal was for my permanently suspended original account at https://twitter.com/evankopelson
My second appeal was for my permanently suspended backup account at https://twitter.com/realevantalks
My third appeal was to remove the shadow bans from my current account at https://twitter.com/ninjablogsecret
(See last week’s article for more information about these three accounts and my Twitter history).
Once you fill in the appeals form and hit the “Submit” button, you’ll see a confirmation page similar to this one here:
The confirmation page says that they will review your request and take further action if appropriate. This might include sending you an email with more information.
I received the exact same confirmation page after submitting each of my three appeals.
Soon after, I received three emails (one for each appeal) acknowledging each appeal individually and asking for 5-7 days to review and respond.
The emails were identical:
What should you write in your appeal?
I was as transparent as possible and respectfully stated my claims for each appeal.
While I don’t have screenshots of exactly what I wrote, it was roughly as follows:
Appeal to reinstate my “evankopelson” account: “My account was permanently suspended for sharing truthful information about how the WHO and CDC were over reporting Covid deaths and under reporting Covid vaccine injuries and deaths. Please kindly reinstate this account, as the information I was suspended for sharing is now permitted on Twitter.”
Appeal to reinstate my “realevantalks” account: “When my account at evankopelson was permanently suspended for sharing truthful information, I started using my sub account “realevantalks” to share similar information, and got permanently suspended. I hereby request this account be reinstated because I broke no laws and what I was permanently suspended for is now permitted on Twitter.”
Appeal to lift the shadow bans on my “ninjablogsecret” account: “When both my other accounts were permanently suspended, I started using this backup to my backup account. I was locked out for 7 days and accused of violating Twitter’s hate speech and violence policy. Under duress, I agreed to allow Twitter to remove my tweet but I do not believe my tweet violated any rules. The tweet was a response to someone else’s tweet asking if people were stupid or mentally deranged for believing a man could be a woman. I responded that I believe that men who stick tomato paste up their rear ends and pretend they’re having menstrual periods are mentally deranged. I did not say this in reference to any specific person nor did I threaten violence or harm to any person or group. I merely stated my opinion. I believe there are shadow bans on my account and request the bans and locks be lifted and my account reinstated.”
How did Twitter respond to my appeals?
Let’s take the three appeals one at a time, as the responses to each of them were different.
Here’s what happened with my appeal to reinstate my account at evankopelson:
Appeal #1 rejected!
Twitter’s rejection was word-for-word exactly the same as the last time I appealed and was told I was “SOL” (shit out of luck):
Hello. Your account was permanently suspended due to multiple or repeat violations of the Twitter Rules. This account will not be restored. This case will now be closed and replies will not be monitored. Thanks, Twitter”
Okay so that was disappointing.
But what about my appeal to reinstate my first backup account at realevantalks:
Appeal #2 rejected!
This rejection of my account at realevantalks was different because it wasn’t about multiple violations or repeat violations of nebulous Twitter rules, but for “managing multiple Twitter accounts for abusive purposes.”
Mind you, they never told me what “abusive purposes” I was being accused of. I still don’t know what this means except that they will not reinstate this account either.
“Hello. Your account has been suspended and will not be restored because it was found to be violating the Twitter Terms of Service, specifically the Twitter Rules against managing multiple Twitter accounts for abusive purposes…. Please note that creating new account(s) to evade this suspension is also against the Twitter Rules and will result in additional account suspension(s). Thanks, Twitter”
They included a link to their Twitter rules but gave no information about specifically which tweet(s) were considered “abusive” nor whom I was being accused of being abusive towards.
This is some nebulous bullshit.
So at this point, it was seeming like I would probably be rejected on my appeal to unlock my account at ninjablogsecret as well.
Not to mention that if Twitter determines I created this account “to evade this suspension” that I would also be found in violation of Twitter Rules and would result in additional account suspension(s).
However, to my absolute surprise…
Appeal #3 Granted!
Twitter restored my ninjablogsecret account and even appears to have lifted my shadow bans.
You may remember from last week’s article that there is a website where you can go and check to see if your Twitter account has any locks applied.
This is how my ninjablogsecret account looked when I checked last week:
This account has had two different shadow bans on it:
The “search suggestion ban” made it so even people who were searching for me by my exact handle could not find me.
And the “Reply deboosting detected” means that my replies to tweets by others would be pushed down on the feed so that most people would never even see my replies.
But look at the search now for my ninjablogsecret account, now that it has been unlocked after my appeal:
All the bans are gone now.
Praise the LORD! (Well, okay maybe that’s overstating the matter. Gratitude to the Twitter Overlords is more like it).
What happens now?
The good news is that my 7 day Twitter ban has ended, and the locks on my account at ninjablogsecret have been lifted.
This means that I should be able to reach more people now on Twitter.
With the search ban lifted people should be able to find me easier, but there’s a conundrum:
I’m concerned about changing my Twitter profile description and adding my name or updating the link to my website, because what if they determine this account was created to avoid the other bans, and they decide to ban this account as well?
At least with Reply Deboosting now being undetected, people can see my replies now.
What I learned last week is that I should be spending more effort on encouraging my Twitter followers to subscribe here to my Substack and/or follow me on other platforms.
It sucks to be cut off from your followers on social media, but at least with these new appeals protocols in place, it’s at least possible to make some progress in the Free Speech Wars.
Are you on Twitter?
Follow me at https://twitter.com/ninjablogsecret and share my profile with your friends.
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