Twitter, for many, is an app used to remain updated, communicate and advertise; for an average user, it’s often used for fun. My experience with Twitter has been usually positive, however recently I have experienced something that has made me think otherwise.
Following the London terror attacks, I encountered many hateful accounts, which held no purpose but to spread hate and false information to their followings, and despite an abundance of people reporting said accounts they still remain standing strong and resentful on Twitter, because of Twitter – rightfully – supporting the prerogative to freedom of speech. One of the accounts I came across was an account by a woman of the name Amy Mek. Now, one thing this account held that many of the other troll accounts lacked was a large following (around 200,000 followers); so of course, this Trump supporting vegan not only took it upon herself to further perpetuate the Muslim equates Terrorist narrative but to also to commence spreading inaccurate information about Islam and everyone who follows it to her following. Here are a few of her tweets.
The majority of her tweets are portraying her blatant loathing for Islam, so as a result, I opened up a conversation with her in direct messages as an attempt to somehow understand where she’s coming from as regards to her hateful point of view. The conversation started with me simply asking if “all Muslims are really terrorists?” to which she responded “Potential, did you miss that word?” furthering her message by asking if I am a Muslim. I reiterated by asking if she was a Christian and she ignored my message and went on to belittle Islam by comparing the ideology of Islam to Hitler’s disgusting anti-Semitic one. Furthermore, instead of responding to any of my DMs regarding the KKK (who she believes are run by democrats) or her opinions on anything, she continued to deprecate the Islamic faith by saying that if Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) were still alive “he would be the leader of ISIS”.
The DM conversation went on to last around 15-20 minutes, essentially consisting of her belittling me along with my faith while simultaneously assuring me she wasn’t being racist and that “I couldn’t find one racist tweet” despite me never accusing her of being so. It eventually ended with me receiving no closure concerning why she believes what she believes and instead receiving a block from Amy subsequent to her stating “And now you are blocked for your sick lies and prophet”. Below is just one of her messages in our conversation.
In a midst of anger, I direct messaged Amy on 8 separate accounts merely joking about her blocking me rather than having an actual discussion. A few hours later, as I went to go on Twitter I found all 13 of my accounts (even the ones I didn’t DM her on) had been suspended and here’s the thing about Twitter suspension: they explain nothing. Twitter leaves you with a suspended account with no explanation as to why this occurred or how I can bring my account back.
I received an email a week following my appeal that my account had been suspended for “multiple account abuse” (essentially my act of DMing Amy on multiple accounts) and when I responded with the account I would like to reactivate, Twitter emailed back an automated message rather than helping figure out the situation.
Now, I completely understand that this is Twitter’s rule and guidelines but when I have reported actual hateful and dangerous accounts on the same app absolutely no action was taken and Twitter ignored all of it. In addition, I have a friend who had DMed Amy on merely 3 accounts after hearing what happened to me and Twitter suspended her as well yet they can’t suspend those who genuinely spread hate and resent on their platform. For example, I reported Amy twice, once for “Being disrespectful or offensive” and again for “Directing hate against a race, religion, gender or orientation” and not one of those reports was listened to at all, so it seems the source of our suspensions was that Twitter favors those with larger followings. So of course, when somebody with 150,000 followers reports teenagers, Twitter immediately responds to their concern without any further questioning.
I’m certain this isn’t the first time Twitter has only made the right to freedom of speech applicable to those with larger followings (even if that speech equals racism and hate) and has only defended or taken action on behalf of those accounts. There shouldn’t be criteria for just and fair treatment, Twitter should move to take action for all actual issues and to make an effort to communicate with users when something like this occurs rather than ignoring the issue. Moreover, it seems ironic that Twitter would suspend accounts for “abusing” people who dedicate their time on Twitter to “abusing” and belittling those of other faiths, races, backgrounds or orientation.
In conclusion, this article wasn’t written to give Amy any further attention, but to shed light on an unjust situation; it is simply not fair that two young people (and likely many others) have lost their twitter accounts, because of something like this. I simply ask of Twitter to reactivate our accounts and to ensure all genuine issues are addressed and taken care of rather than only issues which affect larger accounts. Communicate more with all your users not just your popular ones.