Well. It’s not looking good for Twitter at the moment as its founder is announcing even more potential shitty plans for ruining his website further. I know some of us are exodusing, making our way over to Mastodon. I’ve set up my own in-case-of-emergency Mastodon, which is firstname.lastname@example.org, if you need me there.
In the meantime, though, I have some wisdom for those of us who are trying to stay on the hellsite as Jack fucks it all up. After all, we have forged friendships on there, and built nice little friendly corners of the internet. I intend to stay as long as it’s feasible.
1. Block tweets from people you don’t follow.
One of Jack’s contentious plans for Twitter which he may or may not back down from is to “break the echo chamber” by placing “opposing viewpoints” in your timeline. For someone who isn’t a fucking nazi, this means you’ll be getting nazi tweets all over your timeline, possibly.
There’s an easy way of dealing with this: your new best friend, the block button. Make Twitter that echo chamber it’s been accused of being. If a nazi rolls up unsolicited in the timeline, block them. Even if it’s just some tiresome centrist dad, block them. Don’t interact, don’t engage, just block block block. Jack’s doing this to make Twitter appear as if it has a more diverse range of conversations happening. The engagements, here, are the bread and butter. So don’t give those sweet, profitable engagements by replying and telling that nazi to sit on a spike: just block.
Do this with advertisers, too. The metrics of their campaign success are measured in engagements. It doesn’t look very good for the hellsite if we’re blocking anyone we don’t follow who pop up in our timelines, for fear they might be nazis. That’s Jack’s problem, because he wants us to see those nazis.
I wrote this last year, when there were more shitty changes. These tips make your account wildly unprofitable.
- Use an adblocker. They know you’re doing it. It hurts the advertisers’ feelings. Also, you should be using an adblocker anyway.
- Turn off personalised ads. Hit “disable all” here. While they’re still collecting your information, they can’t use it, which pisses them off.
- Edit your data. Twitter makes guesses at your age and gender for advertisers. You can change them here. My gender is “communist”, and I’m age 13-54.
- Turn off location. Again, it’s data about you, don’t let them have it.
- Delete your interests. Twitter likes guessing at your interests for all the marketing. There’s a list here, and you can delete all of them.
- Block your “tailored audiences”. This dovetails with the personalised ad settings. You’ll find, here, that you’re a member of some personalised audiences. You can request the data. Do it. They’ll send you an email. Block every single account on it. Note: this may take a while and is a bit of a faff. They send the data as a pdf, which you’ll need to convert into a csv–it requires a bit of annoying copy pasting. Next, upload your new block list by going here and selecting “Import a list” from the advanced options menu. Follow the steps and bingo! You’ve blocked your tailored audiences, which is bad for Twitter’s business model. (ETA 14/10/17- the bulk block feature seems to no longer work. Oh well. Do the rest, and if you’re really committed, do please manually block as many of those accounts as possible. And remember to block every advertiser you see!)
- Make your content unprofitable. Twitter owns a pretty broad copyright licence on what you’re posting there. Drop a few f-bombs into your tweets. Append silly gifs to everything. Hate white men, hate Nazis, loudly and proudly. Tweet a lot about how shit Twitter’s policies are. If you have 280 characters, tweet in 140, and use the other 140 to append stuff about how appalling their policy is to every goddamn tweet.
I gave up on the “carthago delenda est” at the end of every tweet quite quickly, as suggested in that last tip, because it got difficult, but I still pepper all my tweets with my potty mouth. They don’t get embedded anywhere.
3. Have regular tweet clearouts to deal with malicious reporting
Some of you might remember I got suspended earlier this year due to the old malicious reporting tactic beloved by nazis and TERFs. The way this tactic goes is simple: they search your old tweets with keywords and then, en masse, report any tweets containing these keywords. Due to Twitter’s obsession with using algorithms to solve human problems, you’re then flagged as an abuser and put on the naughty step. You may even be kicked off Twitter for it.
There’s an additional issue here which is that Twitter is perpetually changing the rules in ways which appear, on their surface, to tackle abuse but in fact empower abusers. The algorithms do not make any distinction between tweets which were within the rules at the time they were tweeted, and ones which are not. I was got for tweets which were six years old using a political slogan which has since become against the rules.
The only really effective way of dealing with it is to delete all your old tweets. Don’t keyword search yourself; the fash are more agile than us proper people. Have regular tweet clearouts. Request your Twitter archive, which can be done via your settings, and use a mass deleter to get rid of everything. I used Cardigan, which is free and quick, and got rid of almost a decade’s worth of tweets in about an hour.
I’m planning regular deletes, and what I’ll be doing when I have a thread I want to save to continue sharing after it’s gone from Twitter is to unroll it using Thread Reader, which converts it into more easily copyable text, and then pasting it into this blog.
It’s a couple of extra steps of work, but it’s necessary if you want to avoid the bullshit.
4. Continue engaging with policy statements from Twitter, saying they’re still barking up very bad trees
Twitter won’t listen, but others will, and it all looks like bad press for the movers and shakers as every time Jack tweets there’s about a thousand “ban the nazis” replies under him. Make sure you like and engage with tweets telling Jack and Twitter that they’re full of shit!
Good luck. Hopefully I’ll keep seeing you all on the hellsite.
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4 thoughts on “Top tips for staying on Twitter as Jack fucks it up”
I’ve set up a Mastodon account (email@example.com) and have announced this on Twitter and FB but only one person I know has also migrated. However, I really want to get off Twitter because it’s not only the Nazis; Twitter are ruining the experience of Twitter itself by fouling third-party clients which offer a vastly better experience than Twitter does with their ‘curated’ timelines which must hide most of your content in order to show you other people’s likes (which in my opinion should be private) and “in case you missed it” (which I usually didn’t thanks to Tweetbot). The adverts are only a small part of why the stock Twitter client sucks; it’s unreliable and makes assumptions about what content I want to see, and who from.
Extremely helpful, thank you for doing this.
Thanks for this.
Any thoughts on Mastodon and your expectations / hopes for it?
Of all the complaints I’ve heard about Twitter by those who use it, I’ve never heard anyone say it’s too much of an ‘echo chamber’. If anything it’s the opposite – too much exposure to ‘opposing views’, particularly abusive ones.
Given the rate at which the hellsite loses money and users, surely they have to go bankrupt sooner or later. It can’t happen soon enough.