15 Dark Facts About Twitter
With over 310 millions users, Twitter is one of the most popular social media websites out there. Used by people of all ages all over the world, the company just celebrated 10 years from their launch online. After 10 years of staying online, the social media giant doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, but as you assumed like any other huge company, it has its share of dark secrets.
There is no surprise a lot of information has leaked over the years as Twitter built such a large base of users. Like many big players in the social media field, Twitter has gotten its hands dirty at times. They sell accounts, allow controversial accounts to exist and sometimes they take sides in political arguments.
Twitter is both used by people who want to promote their products and by governments who want to send political messages. Marketers buy followers while governments donate money to ensure that not all controversial accounts will be banned.
If you want to find out more about Twitter’s darkest secrets, read on, we made a list of 15 of them. This might change the way you use and see social media platforms.
15. Milo, the only troll who didn’t get away with it
If you don’t know who Milo is, well you are missing a lot. He is a gay conservative and Christian activist who uses mostly humor and trolling to get his message across.
Milo is quite controversial and not many can say they actually like him, but it seems that Twitter treated this hater differently. On Twitter, trolling usually goes unpunished, but Milo’s account got banned after calling a woman ugly.
Rumors say the real reason behind the ban was not some online fights but the fact that Milo doesn’t support Muslims and he usually tweets negative posts about them. It seems like Twitter is biased towards people who don’t support Islam.
14. Twitter and ISIS
It seems like ISIS used the social media platform to communicate with extremists all over the world. Not only does Twitter have a “hard time” deleting these accounts, but many people were recruited over Twitter as ISIS members.
Thousands of accounts like these were banned, however new ones appear every day. It seems like Twitter doesn’t care much about blocking the IP of the users who make new accounts on the platform after their accounts are banned.
Rumors claim that this is probably happening because Twitter has donors in Islamic countries that want to spread their message all over the world. Which brings us to the next dark secret.
13. Islamic countries are donating huge amounts of money to Twitter
Do you honestly believe governments throw money at this social media platform just because they like tweeting? Far from it, this dark secret might be linked to the ISIS group.
Money is being sent so Twitter will at least pretend that extremist groups’ messages are being deleted when in fact no IPs are being blocked.
Twitter is also used for Islamic propaganda, as many groups there try to spread their ideology and convince people to follow their path. Only last year over 20 British women fell into the trap and went to an ISIS training camp where they were raped and beaten.
Some of them were even killed.
12. Twittergate controversy
Terrorism, propaganda, what could be worse? What about child pornography?
Twitter has had an underground problem with this since as early as 2012. In November of 2016 though, 25,000 Twitter accounts that linked or posted such content were discovered and made public. This turned out to be a major controversy and attracted media attention all over the world.
Twitter was swift to react to these reports and banned all accounts involved. They worked with the reporters to take down all the content on the website. The stain associated with Twitter still remains to this day though, as the world remembers what it has been used for in the past.
11. Twitter doesn’t care about censorship
Wikipedia has a whole list of countries that Twitter censors content in. Unlike some other social media websites, they have no problem banning or hiding tweets in certain regions. If a government official, company or a third party complains about a tweet being possibly illegal, Twitter will take it down without warning. Even though people have complained in the past, the practice continues to this day.
In addition to fully cooperating with governments around the world, Twitter is also outright banned in several countries. China, Iran and North Korea don’t allow access to the website and it’s very unlikely that this will ever change in the future.
10. No anonymity
British newspapers and tabloids decided to anonymize celebrities’ names involved in a lawsuit. This did not go well with most people, both inside and outside the UK. Because of this, people began linking the names of the celebrities to the lawsuit despite the gagging orders preventing that.
The use of Twitter and other social media websites to spread information that was otherwise hidden from the public was a first. It sparked a lot of arguments concerning freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Twitter was threatened to be banned in the UK but to their relief, it never really happened.
9. Twitter sued the government and lost
In news that shocked a lot of people, Twitter filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in early 2017. The reason for this lawsuit was bizarre and stunned the world. The US government had demanded that Twitter reveal the identity of the user who ran an anti-Trump account on the website. They wanted to know who the person was, not only for the tweets to be deleted.
Because Twitter does not reveal users’ personal information unless they commit a crime, they weren’t willing to give them this information. The company withdrew the lawsuit only a day later and a possible agreement was reached. The tension between the government and Twitter was obvious despite that.
8. Bullies are allowed
Cyberbullying and other forms of online harassment are some of the biggest problems that have dogged Twitter for several years now. Because of the tremendous backlash that the company has received over this issue, they have taken various measures to counter the problem.
Revealing of personal information and explicit imagery are some of the problems that users have complained about over the years. As with some other issues, Twitter has implemented a reporting system. Anybody who has ever used it in the past though will understand that it does little to help. As more measures are taken against this, people find ways to get around the restrictions anyway.
7. Twitter was almost named “Friendstalker”
Twitter wasn’t by any means the first name that was conceived for the social media platform. The founders went through several names before finally settling on this one. One of the most notable and almost ironic names was “Friendstalker”.
Yep, the founders actually considered naming their website that but decided against it soon after. It isn’t hard to see why they went on to reject it. The name would’ve certainly turned people away. It wasn’t the worst name on the list, just the most creepy sounding. Some other names included “Throbber” and “Smssy”, and are almost as bad as each other.
6. The abuse problem
Twitter being used for abuse and hate speech is almost commonplace if you dig it up. In order to get rid of such content, Twitter began using IBM’s Watson AI to detect tweets that contribute to the abuse. These tweets are then taken down and the owners are either warned or banned permanently.
This goes back as far as the early days of the website. As long as it has existed, it has been dealing with users using the service to take advantage of others. Twitter tries to exercise caution while banning users, however, as a lawsuit would surely cause a huge financial loss.
5. Many accounts are fake
Ever wondered how a relatively unknown person has a ton of followers? Well, it’s very likely that the user has bought those followers in exchange for money. Several such services exist on the internet and aren’t even very expensive. Twitter has been trying to stop this but has failed to do so.
Of course, if you want to buy more than a few thousand followers, it would get expensive pretty quickly. That’s exactly what presidential candidates, journalists, and some celebrities have been accused of. Having more followers tends to give the person more credibility, after all, which everybody is after.
4. Far too many bots
Anybody can make a Twitter bot that can send tweets in response to others. A bot’s tweet can look the exact same as if it were from a real person’s account. It’s impossible to detect unless you scroll through the timeline and detect a pattern.
Some people use this to their advantage and with the wrong intentions. Bots that reply with hate and retweet tweets that contain hateful content are all over the place. Because a bot’s behavior is impossible to differentiate from a real user’s, this happens more frequently than most people think. More restrictions have been added to bots and several have been banned since.
3. The cops are watching
Law enforcement agencies around the world keep track of tweets from certain regions known for violence. Using this information, they try and predict outbursts of violence or gang wars. Keeping track of tweets has almost become standard practice in some countries where people use Twitter for communication more than alternatives.
This is why making fun of your boss, or preparing revenge shouldn’t be posted on Twitter.
Many users end up in trouble after they make jokes about committing crimes, so make sure you don’t post about your “evil plans” on Twitter, someone could be watching.
This applies to other social media platforms too.
2. Twitter’s love for politics
It seems many times Twitter was involved in political movements and it also helped revolutionaries by not banning their posts. Twitter has been used by people of several countries that have gone through revolutions and civil wars. Lebanon, Libya, and Egypt are only a few of the recent examples of this. Of course, the governments try their hardest to block communication via Twitter, but they don’t always succeed.
While all not revolutionary messages on Twitter are negative, some activists were inviting violence. Theft and robbery during revolutions are quite common and on Twitter such behaviors were being encouraged.
1. The “Miley save Fuzzy” controversy
In 2009, a distraught Miley Cyrus fan threatened to kill and eat a cat if the celebrity did not return to Twitter. A deadline of 22 November was given for her to save Fuzzy the cat by returning to the website. The controversy went on for several months and was highlighted by the press multiple times and gained traction on Twitter too.
The social media platform did absolutely nothing to stop the fan from posting, the engagements rates were growing, more accounts were being made and Twitter was happy with it.
Sources: reuters.com, huffingtonpost.com, cnbc.com
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