On October 24, 2016 the @eqca posted a series of tweets that ended up being censored because (my best guess) they were filtered as spam. I've posted a previous blog about how Twitter Censors "Spam" Posted by the California Nurse-Midwives Association and the tweets posted by the @eqca look like they have fallen into the same trap. The problem is that the tweets are posted within a short time period and contain the same or similar text.
Here are some of the tweets the @eqca posted that are censored:
We're proud to endorse @SabrinaBrennan for #SanMateoHarborComission! For a full list of our endorsements: https://t.co/tbf4f1GyzW #EQCA pic.twitter.com/YBrLrWT7lv— Equality California (@eqca) October 24, 2016
We're proud to endorse @citrinesf for #SFCCBoard! For a full list of our endorsements: https://t.co/tbf4f1GyzW #vote4equality #EQCA #GOTV pic.twitter.com/dMAZ0zWoyd— Equality California (@eqca) October 24, 2016
We're proud to endorse @Georgette75 for #SDCCDistrict9! For a full list of our endorsements: https://t.co/tbf4f1GyzW #vote4equality #EQCA pic.twitter.com/YzlasP4Bvn— Equality California (@eqca) October 24, 2016
We're proud to endorse @AsmAutumnBurke for #AD62! For a full list of our endorsements: https://t.co/tbf4f1GyzW #vote4equality #EQCA #GOTV pic.twitter.com/J05cljoyL8— Equality California (@eqca) October 24, 2016
I won't post all 135 of the tweets here. They all look much the same. Of the 135 tweets, 127 of them ended up being censored (by this I mean that the tweets are unsearchable on Twitter).
For example, I know the tweet mentioning @AsmAutumnBurke is censored because when I search the text I get no results:
What I also know is that there is a very HIGH chance that Twitter did not notify the tagged account that they were mentioned in the censored tweet. The response I received to a recent public records request regarding a known censored account indicated something peculiar. I knew that the account of @CarltonWilliams was censored. So, I found a tweet where he had tagged the @reverepolice. Knowing I could expect a response submitted to a police department, I submitted a public records request asking the Revere Police if there account received a notification that they were mentioned in the tweet posted by Mr. Williams.
This is the public records request I submitted and the response I got:
.@CarltonWilliams The @reverepolice weren't notified of your tweet. And capitalization makes no difference, only spelling.@bostonglobe pic.twitter.com/mBlkEvH1hu— Angela Greben (@AngelaGreben) October 25, 2016
So, an ACLU lawyer is censored on Twitter and if he tweets a public agency that agency will have no clue he was talking about them on Twitter. Um, Wow! I didn't know that was how Twitter and free speech were supposed to work. That's like Google not liking my "police" searches and deciding I shouldn't be allowed to email my local police.
I have submitted a public records request to Assembly Member Burke and a few others to see if they received notification of the censored tweet posted by the @eqca.
But here's the funny thing, doing an advanced Twitter search for tweets sent by the @eqca account using the text "We're proud to endorse" posted during the year 2014 yielded 15 related tweets:
I have not had the time to scroll all the way back to 2014 on the @eqca timeline to see if they actually posted more tweets than are showing up in the results, but keep in mind that by 2016 they only got away with posting 8 searchable endorsement tweets.
Here's a few more unlucky accounts who fell into the same Twitter-spam-trap:
We are proud to endorse @RepKifowit for re-election in the 84th District! pic.twitter.com/pBRa0YtEec— Equality IL PAC (@EQILPAC) September 21, 2016
.@TomCalterMA achieved a perfect score on our 2015-16 scorecard! Thanks for your leadership! #mapoli #envirochampion https://t.co/jnSUYJyraS pic.twitter.com/8pAPR0WBqJ— ELM Action Fund (@ELMActionFund) September 29, 2016
Increase safety + happiness + save CA taxpayers $$$ @asmMelendez @Donald_Wagner @EricLinder @AsmL2Chang #AB1306 pic.twitter.com/M10gqonqrR— CA Nurse-Midwives (@CalMidwives) September 1, 2016
But here's the sad part for Equality California and their @eqca Twitter account. As recently as November 1st the @CA_Dem Twitter account engaged in the same type of tweeting behavior, but somehow their tweets managed to not get filtered as spam:
Vote for the Official California Democratic Party endorsed candidate for CD-46: @loucorreaCA! #CADEM16 #Vote 🗳 pic.twitter.com/c6Ws7FVB7O— CA Democratic Party (@CA_Dem) November 1, 2016
So, somehow a series of similar tweets posted by the @CA_Dem are not spam, while a series of similar tweets posted by @eqca, @EQILPAC, @EqualityNewYork, @ELMActionFund, and the @CalMidwives are. We should all be asking ourselves how we are to know what gets censored as spam and what does not and Twitter should be transparent about it.