War of the Twitter Roses: #UniteBlue v #TGDN
Unless you’re politically active on Twitter, it’d be easy to miss the insane behavior that’s transpired recently on the 140-character social media platform. It all began earlier this month when conservative tweeter @ToddKincannon started a new hashtag: #TGDN. The new hastag (an acronym for Twitter Gulag Defense Network) was reportedly intended to protect conservative Twitter users from being suspended by their liberal counterparts during Twitter discussions. (The way the Twitter auto-ban algorithm works is this: the more followers you have, the more difficult it is to be randomly suspended by someone using the Twitter spambot algorithm.) The content of those tweets do not matter; no live person sits at Twitter HQ reviewing every Report as Spam / Block clicked (it would be overwhelming). No – it’s an automated process that looks at different factors like follower/following count, if the “violator” abused the @reply feature, etc. in determining whether to suspend an account.
Twitter makes it easy to report accounts for spam. When enough users report an account, it automatically gets suspended. Some users abuse this feature by organizing a group to report or “spam-block” a single account in order to get it suspended.
Conservatives created the “Twitter Gulag Defense Network” or #TGDN to stop spam-blocking attacks. Aware that accounts with more followers are less likely to get suspended, they mutually followed anyone else using #TGDN. Now that their group is organized and members are protected, they have begun targeted spam-blocking of progressive accounts, exactly what their group was created to oppose. Ironic.
The solution: do not engage. If you don’t @mention or follow an account first, Twitter doesn’t care whether that account spam-blocks you later. Never tweet or follow any account sporting #TGDN. Ignore any account that mentions you with #TGDN in their tweets. Unfollow any accounts with #TGDN in their biography.
And here’s another one here too.
In an effort to fight the conservative spam-reporting tide, the great folks over at @UniteBlue started a similar campaign that’s taking off quite successfully. Using the hashtag #UniteBlue, liberal/progressive-minded Twitter users can join the UniteBlue network to bolster their follower numbers and prevent targeted suspensions by #TGDN users. The need for follower-protection aside, I believe #UniteBlue is truly a great idea. It has the ability to connect like-minded people to increase network connections and information sharing.