Twitter Suspends YouTube Phenom PewDiePie For Making A Stupid ISIS Joke

from the giant-circle-of-stupidity dept

Most of the time, you can say pretty much whatever you'd like on Twitter without the company actually bothering to enforce its harassment and online abuse policies. Think it's funny to threaten to rape somebody? Twitter this week informed Medium software engineer Kelly Ellis this was perfectly ok. Want to hurl racist threats like a lobotomized halfwit? Cool! Is flinging anti-semitic insults more your cup of tea? No problem! Over the last year, you'd be hard pressed to find somebody not talking about how inconsistent and arbitrary Twitter's ban hammer is.

Swedish YouTube phenom PewDiePie found this out the hard way this week after his account -- followed by 47 million Twitter users -- suddenly up and disappeared briefly from the social networking service without explanation:
Well, not entirely. According to one of his videos he unverified his own account to protest the admitted pointlessness of the verified process, which itself is often arbitrary.
But before that video explanation was posted, a parody Sky News account (unverified, for whatever it's worth) proclaimed that the Youtube star had been unverified because he joined ISIS:
That in turn resulted in the "star" making the joke that he'd joined the violent extremist group (has this gotten stupid yet or is it just me?):
All told, it's believed this Tweet, possibly combined with the parody reference, somehow triggered the suspension at Twitter, which speaks volumes about Twitter's threshold for suspension as it tries to crack down on ISIS' influence on social media. Last month Twitter proclaimed it had shut down 360,000 Twitter accounts for being tied to terrorism, but this latest flub again raises questions about whether the company actually has a solid handle on what it's doing.

Twitter refuses to comment on this or any of its other seemingly-drunk enforcement behaviors, but the company's inconsistency on this front has been on proud display for some time, and the message being sent is anything but clear. Something about how it's ok to threaten to rape and kill women and people of color, but don't joke about ISIS, and whatever you do -- don't post animated gifs of the Olympics:
If Twitter doesn't want to begin rivaling some of the great arbitrary shitshows of our age (like oh, Apple's app store approval process) the company needs to get ahead of the problem quickly. Sources told Bloomberg last week that the company was consulting with "an outside council of anti-harassment groups" as it experiments with keyword filters the company hopes gives users more control of violent vitriol aimed in their direction. It also hopes to offer an announcement on improvements to its harassment policy and enforcement.

In the interim, to be safe, you may just want to avoid humor entirely.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 6:48am

    Yea... yea...

    Closed private systems can totally censor you. Stop bitching and move to a platform you do like and matches your politics.

    While there is no such thing as a free market anymore, YOU can still choose what you spend your money on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 6:54am

      Re: Yea... yea...

      "Stop bitching "

      Shut up

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 6:59am

      Re: Yea... yea...

      you are saying is that you can either try to speak where people gather, or shout in the wilderness where nobody hears you..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:18am

        Re: Re: Yea... yea...

        Incredibly dishonest, Twitter is hardly the only place one can have a voice.

        But yea... makes sense to cry and whine like a baby when you can't have you way right?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          orbitalinsertion (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:27am

          Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

          The whine is coming from inside your house.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 8:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

            hey, I can admit that I am whining about the whiners... wist they would quit their bellyaching.

            The real problem is that these whiners will vote in politicians that will remove more liberty as part of their solution and then turn around and blame something that does not exist as the cause of the problem. The ignorant sheeple buy this shit all the time.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 8:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

              Ah, "sheeple" — what a wonderful word. It so vividly conveys that a person has very little independent thought and an incredibly narrow, unoriginal view of the world — specifically, the person who used the word "sheeple"

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 9:12am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

                Have you seen the two candidate running for president?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 4:50pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

                  Wait - you claim "the people" are responsible for selecting candidates?
                  .. Please ..
                  Have you not been paying attention to the primaries?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

              You lost the argument with your whine about people wanting to stand up to Twitter. Dragging politics into it is a pathetic attempt at misdirection.

              "Sheeple" though... Classic internet narcissist.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 8:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

          .. and "your way" involves arbitrary enforcement of company policy with an expectation of no criticism?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 8:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

            Twitter is allowed to enforce its policies however it wants. Unless it does something illegal during said enforcement, you can’t do jack shit—and neither can the government.

            If you don’t like it, move to another platform.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Leigh Beadon (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 8:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

              If you don’t like it, move to another platform.

              OK, I want you to imagine you're asking the people at Twitter a question. It's a simple question, it goes like this: "When users of your platform - including huge ones like PewDiePie - are unhappy about something, would you prefer they talk about it and lodge complaints when necessary, or would you prefer them to immediately bail on the platform entirely because they 'can't do jack shit'?"

              Which do you think Twitter would choose?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 8:42am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

                Oh, you’re allowed to complain. In fact, I’d recommend it. But Twitter is under no obligation to listen.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Leigh Beadon (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 8:45am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

                  Who ever said they were obligated to listen? You're the one who started acting like people are morons for even bothering to complain.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 11:14am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

                  No - you said "move to another platform"

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 11:29am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

                    ah... moving to another platform is better.

                    Just make sure they know why you are moving. Businesses only understand lessons that hit them in the pocket book. Now, if people were really able to stick to their guns everyone would move off the platform can destroy the business. Once that happens a couple of time businesses with fucking take note. It's called making an example, but hell... Like I said in a different post, good luck with that. People are too lazy for fight, they just want someone else to take care of them and to give them things.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Machin Shin (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 8:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

              Your wrong in your thoughts that we can't do shit. We can be very vocal in our complaints. This might not be much, but it does at least give the company a chance to listen to people and change.

              Then we still have the option of going somewhere else, but if we just silently move to other systems we rob them of the chance to know why we left and fix it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 9:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

                Keep in mind, a lot more than just a couple will have to do it to work.

                Good luck getting the American People to participate in a boycott though... we hate the concept of free market controls in America. All we care to do is cry like babies and expect someone in authority to fix the problem.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re: Yea... yea...

        you are saying is that you can either try to speak where people gather, or shout in the wilderness where nobody hears you..
        GNU Social is a thing. It can be a bit complicated picking the right server(there's a mountain of them), but it's "federated" like email, so you can still talk to somebody if they're on another instance.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 1:21pm

          Re: Re: Re: Yea... yea...

          If you want to convert the heathens you go to where they are, and not to the church where the faithful meet.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JBDragon (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:27am

      Re: Yea... yea...

      I have to agree. A private company has every right to do whatever it wants. It's NOT Government. Though it would be much better if they made some clear rules on what's allowed and what isn't and then stuck to it where it makes sense to everyone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        art guerrilla (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 4:02pm

        Re: Re: Yea... yea...

        there are at least several problems with that:
        1. what was formerly the province of public commons is now becoming privatized; what to do when there is NO public space left and it is all effectively controlled by the korporatocracy ?
        2. i know it is a joke that tells itself, but we *should* expect our korporate overlords to adhere to basic morality and fairness, REGARDLESS of what the law allows; like i said, what a joke, right ?
        3. i am HIGHLY skeptical of bright-line rules: they ALWAYS end up not covering enough of whatever 'bad' stuff crazy nekkid apes are trying to stop, and then end up being extended far beyond their usefulness... how about we just use simple good judgement ? is there any of that left any more ?
        4. again, a quaint concept, but SUPPOSEDLY korporations -besides a LIMITED, time-specific charter- ALSO had to perform some public good in the actual production of their bidness, NOT just make widgets at a profit... why can't we have an expectation they will do so -and, for example, protect everyone's free speech rights- with such a widely used medium, REGARDLESS of whether it is 'private' ? it is OUR public charter which gave them the korporate super-powers they enjoy, why DON'T we get some benefit ?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 10:07pm

      Re: Yea... yea...

      Well, you can still choose what to spend your money on, right up until the government passes a law requiring you to buy something or else be 'taxed' for the same amount.

      Of course, the joke is on the government in the one existing example of that, since the rising cost of 'affordable' insurance has actually made the 'tax' the cheaper option for many people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 6:51am

    It's right there in the name

    What do you expect from a site built by Twits for Twits?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MadAsASnake (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:01am

    I don't suppose the Morris Isis owners club has got a chance...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:07am

    I’m still amazed at how Twitter seems to not grasp simple ideas on how to improve the Twitter experience. The Buzzfeed story a few weeks back that painted top Twitter execs as hardline free speech supporters shows that even Twitter misunderstands the fundamental principle of that right: You have the right to speak your mind, but you are not entitled to an audience or a platform.

    And that misunderstanding gets to the core of why Twitter has fallen so far behind in dealing with harassment. The top brass think the “speech” espoused by trolls and racists and harassers must be forced upon those who don’t wish to see it—and if they don’t explicitly think that way, the lack of tools necessary for end users to prevent that speech from reaching them proves it is an implicit principle at the core of Twitter.

    Wordfilters would help, and I’m amazed they haven’t come into play before now. (They’d certainly help with the spambots.) Controls for whose notifications you see, who can see your tweets (with or without an account), and time-based controls for who can follow, reply to, and message you (e.g., you can block notifications from accounts less than a month old) would do wonders for helping users curate their timelines and notifications. And none of those controls would deny Twitter users their voice—it would just deny them the ability to force everyone else into listening.

    I get that the scale of Twitter means such controls would take some time to develop and ultimately deploy. My question is this: Why did it take Twitter until over a year ago to even consider wordfilters, and why has it taken over a year for them to develop a wordfilter system?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:21am

      Re:

      So you are not bitching that there IS censorship, just bitching about the TYPE of censorship they participate in?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:30am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, your just the type to think a discussion you don't like is either whining or censorship.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 1:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I am not sure you comprehend.

          I am for ZERO censorship. Whining is in the eye of the beholder, what I think is whining is not what you think is whining.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Bergman (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 10:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So you're saying that if I were to find out where you live, and park a sound system van outside your house at 3 am, you'd be totally in favor of me bombarding you with speech you dislike because you are in favor of ZERO censorship?

            There's a critical difference between stopping someone from speaking and being able to opt out of listening.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:56am

        Re: Re:

        If you want to stand on a street corner and yell about, say, God hating gay people, you’re allowed to do that. What you can’t do is grab someone walking by that street corner and force them into listening to you yell about God. By the same token, someone choosing to ignore your speech by walking right by you does nothing to prevent you from speaking, just like someone blocking you on Twitter doesn’t prevent you from sending tweets.

        If you think a potential audience choosing to ignore you is tantamount to censorship, you have made a grave error in judgment.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 4:17pm

      Re:

      Parent AC has it completely backwards. Twitter has not "fallen behind" in harassment. It has had the harassers and trolls on its moderation staff for at least two years and has been banning normies for complaining about it. Twitter has gone as far as to change its algorithms to suppress people talking about how bad things are over there as if they're Communist China.
      https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=15/10/30/0126246

      The tools to block trolls already exist. There is the block button. If someone continues harassment, there is the police department.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:07am

    Can we please stop calling them ISIS?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JBDragon (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:29am

      Re:

      Call them what they really are, Mass Murderer's!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:39am

      Re:

      I agree. We should agree upon a name.

      I suggest we start calling Military Order of Mohamed. And start telling 'your mom' jokes to each other till they send someone to blow us up. For the lulz.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 9:14am

      Re: Great Idea for terrorist names

      The next terrorist group should be the REPUBLICAN and the DEMOCRAT....

      REPUBLICAN is obviously an acronym for Really Evil People United By Logic, Intelligence, Charisma, and Narcisism

      DEMOCRAT is Decidedly Evil Men Overreacting Creating Really Atrocious Tratiors

      Just imagine a world without republican/democratic advertising....

      Why didn't anyone think of this before?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 9:34am

        Re: Re: Great Idea for terrorist names

        That's good stuff, but you may have given Republicans too much credit with the Intelligence part.

        George Washington said it best.

        I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

        This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

        The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

        Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.


        So very few people even know how great our First President ever was!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 10:07am

      Re:

      The CIA mistake?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 10:13pm

      Re:

      Call them Daesh. It's what they are and they absolutely HATE it. Win-win!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:35am

    Damn I laughed hard at the video. We should start posting that we killed an ISIS operative. Surely we'll get automagically verified, no?

    No, really. Too much laughs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 9:06am

    Want to hurl racist threats like a lobotomized halfwit? Cool! Is flinging anti-semitic insults more your cup of tea? No problem!

    Right:

    "Lord have mercy…white people shit"
    "ok you white girls are starting to look alike like a mutherfucka."
    "Yo them dudes with the curls on the side of they head does that make them more Jewish? For real I need to know"

    didn't get Leslie Jones banned. Awesome!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 9:54am

      Re:

      I think it is better to leave everyone opinions on display.

      The idea of taking something down because it hurts someone's feeling is about the worst possible excuse for removing something.

      Sometimes there is just no way to tell someone they are fucking nuts without indirectly or just directly insulting them. People just need to understand... life is a bitch, and all the people around you are bitches too! And that mug you see in the mirror? Yep... bitch as well.

      We absolutely must have discourse to survive as a society and that includes the pain that goes with it. Suppressing people speech because it is hurtful is the same as asking married couples to never have a problem because you can never talk about them!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 3:36pm

      Re:

      It should be obvious that Leslie Jones didn't get banned -- while her critics most certainly did -- because Sony had sunk $300 million into the movie she starred in. Twitter is simply protecting an expensive property.

      It's the same reason why trash-talking recording artists who sign multi-year/multi-million dollar contracts also get a free ride on Twitter.

      Don't expect any kind of "fairness" -- money talks on Twitter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Docrailgun, 1 Sep 2016 @ 10:39am

    Hopefully he'l l be banned permanently from Twitter and YouTube both.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 10:54am

    Twitter bans always seem to be based on optics, rather than the actual issues.

    Isis is a hot button, so boom ban first figure it out later.
    Racist content, well if they offend a big enough star we can do something.
    Rape threats, they are just idle threats... unless you are important enough.

    I remember looking at some of the 'experts' Twitter wanted to use to help them sort this out and it was a long list of people who were upset at everything... unless they were the one making the comments.

    Twitter isn't even sure what their platform is for. They are so focused on keeping stars & power players happy while ignoring the other 99.99% of their user base.
    We built stars a special client that lets them filter out junk tweets.
    We add a mark so you know they are the real person (or their staff).

    You managed to piss off the right block of people, and are getting 1000 tweets every 10 minutes... nothing we can do. Someone keeps making up new accounts & sending you the same threats over and over after you complain for the 40th time and we finally suspend them... oh well.

    But hey, we killed a feature most of you liked so we can all share moments...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Arbitrarily Banned for the 666th Time aka The Real, 1 Sep 2016 @ 1:47pm

    I always dislike the rape "threats", racism, hate speech, whatever is allowed BUT THIS ISN'T angle. As if it would be better if they lowered the bar to the absurd extent that this would not be arbitrary. People, including myself, get banned all the time for arbitrary reasons - the arbitrary argument only seems to hold weight when some politically correct dullard is arbitrarily banned.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 3:43pm

    It was ironic that Twitter appointed to it's "Trust & Safety Council" (the people who decide Twitter's ban policy) one of the most controversial (if not outright hated) people on the internet, male-bashing "professional victim" Anita Sarkeesian.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 5:52pm

    AAAAAAAA

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Just John (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 6:31pm

    Well, avoid humor and being non-white or female. Especially avoid being a non-white female trying to be humorous...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 8:27am

    If he had actually joined ISIS they would have left him alone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 4:18pm

    Surprised no one has yet mentioned the possibility of another reason why a guy who made an ISIS joke got booted from the site: One of Twitter's majority shareholders is Prince Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, the country that has exported Wahabist Islam to every continent but Antarctica and created ISIS in the first place with a little help from the good old U$A.

    There has been a tremendous crackdown on ANYONE who says anything even remotely critical of the religion of pieces, while scumbags who proselytize openly for the glories of the holy profit (pig's blood upon him) are allowed to proliferate with impunity. Twitter won't do anything about ISIS because Twitter itself is an ISIS propaganda outlet.

    All in the name of oil and Bronze Age fairy tales. Would that we left both toxic influences upon humanity behind a long time ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2016 @ 6:40am

    Twitter needs to learn to take a fucking joke. Fuck them

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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