04.30.17

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Twitter Shadowbans Critics of the EPO Now?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Erdoğan and EPO

Summary: Criticise the EPO’s European Inventor Award 2017 (in a way that becomes visible), get shadowbanned by Twitter (rendering this criticism invisible)

THE EPO has long been censoring people. The EPO cannot tolerate criticism. It has been blocking Techrights for a number of years, it blocked IP Kat for criticism of the EPO (whereupon the criticism ended), it muzzled staff representatives many times, quarantined/deleted E-mails from the unions, sent me threatening letters (apparently it did this to others too), and as we showed yesterday, it also spiked a press interview with AMBA. How far does this censorship regime extend? It’s hard to tell. We suspect that censorship of media (like TV) has become routine, which makes the EPO a lot like Erdoğan, who is making headlines this weekend for even banning Wikipedia. Not a single reason is specified for this, so people can only speculate (maybe the Armenian genocide, unflattering information about Erdoğan and so on).

“How far does this censorship regime extend?”For a number of months I have been trying to figure out (it’s like reverse-engineering) what causes/entails a Twitter shadowban and at what point exactly. I wrote about it several times in my personal blog [1, 2, 3] and unwillingly I have become an ‘expert’ at Twitter shadowbans, which are mysterious because Twitter does not comment on the practice. We once explained/demonstrated the concept of shadowbans in relation to Reddit.

I only know two accounts in Twitter that belong to EPO staff and both, by their own admission, suffered shadowbans and openly complained about it. Some EPO observers said publicly last year (several times in fact) that I had been shadowbanned (I hadn’t even noticed myself at the time).

“Some EPO observers said publicly last year (several times in fact) that I had been shadowbanned (I hadn’t even noticed myself at the time).”Twitter had not done that to me for a while, but it did this to me 2 days ago when EIA 2017 was mentioned, shadowbanning me for 24 hours. So I wanted to assure myself it was definitely what triggered it; I tried again this morning. These two tweets got me shadowbanned by Twitter (for sure) [1, 2]. This is what I had to say for censorship to kick in and make everything I say (or said) invisible for at least 24 hours (that’s over a third of a million tweets gone!). I didn’t say anything extreme, but immediately afterwards I was shadowbanned. What can I conclude from this? I was able to reproduce the same thing which happened 2 days ago. Whether there is something going on behind the scenes or perhaps an algorithm alone invoked the ban it’s impossible to know. It’s widely known that Twitter neither explains nor acknowledges its shadowbanning practices/policy. In fact, it doesn’t want “users” (whom it uses) to even know about this silent censorship strategy.

What Twitter may or may not realise is that in this case it gags voices critical of human rights abuses. What does that say about Twitter? This is not obscenity or trolls or “hate speech” of however they wish to justify these things. It’s purely irrational censorship.

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