Over the weekend, Twitter suspended a number of accounts to a violation of its spam rules and for copyright issues. Some of the accounts, which included @GirlPosts, @SoDamnTrue and @commonwhitegiri, were hugely popular.
GirlPosts, for example, had 9.8 million followers and was listed by Statweestics as the sixth most popular account of 2017, beating out such notables as CNN, Fox News and Harry Styles. The account was pulling in around 20 million likes and six million retweets a month.
The suspensions are a result of twitter trying to crack down on various practices that it believes hurts the credibility of the site. The accounts had long been accused of copying tweets from other users without giving credit. Twitter has also recently declared war on the practice of ‘tweetdecking’ in which accounts group together in exclusive Tweetdeck groups and mass-retweet each other’s content, as well as those of paying customers.
In February 2018, the company issued a notice in which it outlined its views on keeping the platform free from spam:
“As an alternative to posting identical content, you can Retweet content from one account from the other accounts you wish to share that post from. This should only be done from a small number of distinct accounts that you directly control. Please note that bulk, aggressive, or very high-volume automated Retweeting is not permitted…”
Stacking the deck
“This is hugely disappointing for me. It has taken eight years of my life to build a following of nearly 10 million fans,” Niki Helings, the student who created GirlPosts, said.
“I comply with Twitter’s rules and feel that this suspension is so unfair.”
Twitter’s spam policy expressly forbids the selling, purchasing of account interactions or any measures to try and artificially inflate those numbers. According to the policy, violations can result in permanent suspension.
The accounts were popular for a very simple reason. With such a vast userbase, it can be a difficult task trying to root out the best content on Twitter. Accounts such as those that are suspended make this task much simpler and allow people to quickly get their daily dose of memes before getting on with their lives.
GirlPosts denies the Tweetdecking and copyright breach allegations. GirlPosts representative Jack Irvine, Chairman of Media House International, said:
“There appears to be no system within Twitter to establish due process. From what I can see, Twitter is acting as an unregulated monopoly, arguably exclusively in its own interest.”