Sunday, October 16, 2016

Twitter Censors "Spam" Posted by the California Nurse-Midwives Association

Did you know that tweeting too much of the same or similar content is considered spam by Twitter, even when the message is directed to elected officials?

Back in August the CNMA encouraged members to participate in a "Twitter bomb" by tweeting representatives of the CA Legislature their support for Assembly Bill 1306.  The bill failed to pass and some of the tweets posted by the @CalMidwives Twitter account ended up censored.  When I say censored, I mean that when you try to search for them on Twitter you won't find them.  To see the tweet you have to visit the @CalMidwives account.  What it also means is that the CA Assembly and Senate members included in on the tweets were not notified of the tweet (I'll be submitting a public records request to verify, but this has happened to me in the past.)

So, let's take a look at the censored "spam" posted by the CNMA.  All we need to do is visit the @CalMidwives account and scroll down to their tweets posted on August 31st (to better understand how to search for a censored tweet visit the this has happened to me in the past link).

On August 31st the CNMA posted 21 tweets that contained the words "Increase safety + happiness + save CA taxpayers $$$."  However, when you search Twitter for those tweets only 7 show up in the results:

Note: A search for "Increase safety + happiness + save CA taxpayers $$$" produced the same results.

These are the tweets that Twitter decided were spam:

It's one thing for Twitter to fight spam, but in this instance Twitter is violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that provides for people and organizations, like the CNMA, to petition their government.  It really is that simple.  Twitter has allowed elected officials to create public accounts, but due to a lack of transparent rules in how Twitter defines spam, you may not know when your tweets are seen as legitimate or not.    

UPDATE: More Examples of Twitter Censoring Legitimate "Spam"

Now you knew that the CNMA would not be the only account affected by Twitter's algorithms wrongly interpreting free speech as spam.  Here's more:

On August 31st Certified Nurse-Midwife, Karen Ruby Brown, posted from her twitter account 11 tweets to her CA representatives in regards to Assembly Bill 1306.  Each tweet contained the words, "We LOVE our collaborating MDs" and doing a search for those tweets shows that more than half are censored.

On August 27th Nurse-Midwife, Monica Viera, posted 37 tweets from her account to her CA representatives in regards to Assembly Bill 1306.  Only two of the 37 tweets sent that day are uncensored, while the other 35 are uncensored.  All of her 37 tweets contained the same message, "Quality of care enhanced by collegiality:mutual respect&trust+professional responsibility+accountability-this is #AB1306," but were individually sent to different elected officials. I applaud Monica for her efforts and am deeply concerned that Twitter chose to view the same tweet sent to her other 35 representatives as spam.

See how my search for the words "Quality of care enhanced by collegiality" resulted in only 4 tweets:

On August 31st Twitter user and Assembly Bill 1306 supporter, Jonathan Bartlett, posted 28 tweets with the words "No other state has CPM bar" to his CA representatives.  As the screen shot below shows, only 6 of those tweets are uncensored:

And the censorship of "spam" isn't limited to supporters of Assembly Bill 1306....


On October 13th the @AuhsdBond Twitter account posted 11 tweets with the following picture: 

However, when you try to search for these tweets you'll notice that 8 of them are censored from the Twitter search results.  These are the censored tweets I found: