Friday, November 4, 2016

The California Democratic Party Twitter Account Gets Away with Posting Spam

The Equality California Twitter account, @eqca, has posted tweets that shows how Twitter is censoring their tweets, but not similar tweets posted by the California Democratic Party Twitter account, @CA_Dem.  However, Twitter didn't always consider the @eqca tweets to be spam.

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:

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:

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:

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:

For example,
This tweet is searchable and 9 others just like it were posted the same day:

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.