Your Silence Is Scaring Me and It Should Be Scaring You
Two days ago, I temporarily lost access to my Twitter account. I’m glad they reconsidered what they were doing for democracy’s sake. I shared an article. That is what got me suspended. In the article, I wrote about how my friend had been suspended. She was suspended, because she reported what was happening to her at Twitter to the Senate Intelligence committee.
This is what was happening to her. She was being attacked mercilessly by white supremacists while on Twitter as a black woman. She would report them, but nothing would happen. She knew they were Russian bots. Suddenly, despite having over 8,000 followers, she wasn’t getting any retweets. She’d been pretty popular. What was going on? She had been put on limited distribution. Basically, this means that Twitter is not sending out your tweets to all 8,000 of the people who follow you. In fact, it only goes to people who have recently been to your profile or retweeted you.
After she told me about it, I thought back to my graduate school class on social network analysis. She was right. Statistically, it didn’t make sense for someone with as many followers as she had to have so few retweets. I wondered about my own slow business on Twitter with over 8,500 followers. So, I wrote an article and got suspended. Yes, they reconsidered the prudence of that decision. I think they realized the firestorm that would cause. But my friend’s suspension should be as alarming.
That night, in the darkness, my webcam came on. I know because I have tape over it, and it glowed brightly. I wish I had thought to take a picture, but I was in bed, and my phone was charging in the kitchen.
Whoever it was didn’t give up for quite a few seconds perhaps listening for sounds? Can they do that? There was only the TV.
So, if you’re a member of the resistance, how do you feel?
Well, I wrote an article about it. That’s how I felt. And a few people read it. And they yawned. Or maybe some people did. Or so I thought.
I asked my friend who was suspended after reporting her experiences to the Senate Intelligence committee and she said it might be because my article was on limited distribution. Oh yeah, right. That. These social media corporations still have the power to stop my article from being distributed. But — and this is a big but — there are still people reading the article on Medium, and they are just blowing it off. They aren’t endorsing it. They aren’t sharing it. They aren’t responding to it. It’s just crickets. It’s the same way on Facebook.
So I confronted a good friend. Why are you being so silent about what I am experiencing?
I don’t want it to happen to me. I know it’s not very brave, but I don’t want it to happen to me.
You know what Resistance? Those were bone-chilling words. Twitter had an $800 million dollar solid investment from a Russian oligarch.
Twitter confirms 'significant' round of funding led by Russian investment company
While the micro-blogging site did not outline the size of investment led by the Russian investment company in a blog…
In Twitter’s world, that was real cash. No matter what it was “valued” at, the company needed real money. Everyone knows that. Just think if our social media companies were to fall through corporate merger to white supremacists. How vulnerable is this Resistance? Very. Our social networks are social media dependent. We don’t have phone trees. We don’t have non-corporate means of communicating.
A scared resistance is a weak resistance. The silence was deafening. The lack of support was incredible. My webcam turned on.