Twitter Throttles Call for Social Media Strike as ‘Sensitive Content’

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Ex-founder of Wikipedia Larry Sanger’s Twitter followers reported that they couldn’t see the tweets he had put out about a social media strike.

“Who wants me to organize mass tryouts of decentralized social media networks?” Sanger tweeted on Dec. 2. “You’d be able to get your all friends to try out an alternative all at the same time, because we make (a series of) giant, well-publicized events. Bigger than #SocialMediaStrike. Would you participate?”

The Twitter account for 3Speak.online, a free-speech video platform, tweeted that Sanger’s tweet had been censored as “sensitive” content. The account shared a screenshot of the sensitive tweet cover that required a click-through to see Sanger’s tweet.

“Generally,” said Sanger, “my tweets aren’t censored (generally speaking) at all; but when I’ve talked about the social media strike, my tweets are frequently censored.” He also said he had many screenshots from other accounts who had seen his tweet marked as “sensitive.”

He was referencing a call to action from July where he asked people “with serious grievances against social media” to go on strike from platforms.

3Speak.online said, “I did not change any settings for any words on my account. Restricted tweets do not get as much reach. It is a big issue and is getting worse. From the restricted tweets I have been seeing, especially the ones supporting alt platforms, are being hidden, and this is a red flag.”

Independent verification showed that while that specific tweet was not censored for another account, several of Sanger’s tweets had been filtered out as “sensitive content.” Another tweet that had been censored was a screenshot of a Twitter trend, #DeleteFacebook.

A spokesperson for Twitter stated that users who chose to flag media tweeted from their account as containing sensitive topics will have all of their media tweets marked as sensitive. In the Twitter policy about the media settings, the company stated: “By appropriately marking your media settings, Twitter can identify potentially sensitive content that other users may not wish to see, such as violence or nudity.”

Yet Sanger has had much of his content censored. Previously, according to Sanger, the social media company had marked the link to his own blog, LarrySanger.org, as “unsafe.” He said, “This means I can’t share my latest blog posts on Twitter.”

Twitter Censorship Project