In September of 2014, I opened a Twitter account to post Christian tweets. Currently I have just over 14,600 followers @lead1225. I consider Twitter a nice outlet and place for me to communicate information about Christianity since I don’t proselytize in my day job as a college professor in a secular university.
Over the past year, I have been targeted by hundreds of atheists and I have gotten to know many of them. I began writing blogs to respond to some of their blogs, which I post on my WordPress account, along with other blogs on various topics related to Christianity. From what several atheists have told me, many of them hate me. And one of my blog posts was terribly unpopular with them. I suspect they worked together and reported my account as spam or something similar.
In all honesty, I can understand their position. One particularly friendly atheist confided in me about how I made them feel. So, I have (again) modified my approach and I will take ownership for it.
Those who tagged me as spam succeeded. Twitter has effectively shut down my account by shadow banning me at least eight days ago. When an account has been shadow-banned, it is no longer visible to people not following the account unless they specifically search for it by name. My tweets do not show up using hashtags and I am not found by search engines. When I reply, like, or retweet my friends’ tweets, they are not notified. In effect, Twitter has made me invisible. And they have not told me why. I have tried in multiple ways to contact them but have had no luck.
It is my understanding that Twitter does this to eliminate spam. Twitter says it promotes free speech with the following statement: “Fighting against censorship and for free expression is ingrained on Twitter’s DNA.”
However, some disagree. Dilbert’s creator Scott Adams thought he was once shadow banned for endorsing President Trump. His article is here: http://blog.dilbert.com/post/159566176596/am-i-shadowbanned-on-twitter. Fortunately for him, his ban was lifted shortly after he posted this article. I don’t know whether I’ll be so fortunate. I rarely post anything political, though I support pro-life initiatives, the environment, education, and immigration.
Breitbart indicates that shadow banning is very real, though Twitter has not publicly admitted to shadow banning accounts. They state: “The pattern of shadowban reports, which skews towards the alt-right, the populist right, and cultural libertarians, follows close on the heels of Twitter’s establishment of a “Trust and Safety Council” packed with left-wing advocacy groups, as well as Islamic research centre the Wahid Institute.” Access more information from Breitbart here: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/02/16/exclusive-twitter-shadowbanning-is-real-say-inside-sources/
Breitbart’s advice: “Users in search of a transparent, politically unbiased platform will soon have to find — or build — an alternative.”
It is very depressing to have spent so much time building and promoting my Twitter account to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ only to have it be made invisible to millions of Twitter advocates. I will keep using the account, though I learned an important lesson: Don’t put all of your eggs in a single basket. Therefore, I upgraded my WordPress free account to a premium account and I will be using Google AdWords to attract people to my blogs. I may open other accounts in social media, but I will never invest the time I have invested in Twitter. It is a sad lesson I learned.
A friend told me that it is possible to eliminate a shadow ban. He said to reduce the number of people I follow relative to my total followers, so I used Twitnerd and unfollowed just about everyone I follow who does not follow me back. A former U.S. president is my only exception. Others have advised me to reduce the number of hashtags in my tweets and to stop retweeting my tweets to my blogs. Advice taken. Finally, my friend indicated that if new people follow me, the ban may be lifted. We will see.
Now, I wait.
Two weeks into the shadow ban I decided to purchase an ad on my account. I figured that by purchasing an ad, it would be clear that my account was not spam. So, I began the purchasing process but was told by the chat help that I should wait for the ban to be lifted. They indicated that my account had been mistakenly tagged as spam. They said it would take a few hours to fix. It took 31 hours, but the shadow ban is now lifted! There is a God.
Thank you for your time. I hope this article helps you if you have been shadow banned. I found the ban extremely depressing.