Last year, I was the target of some tasty antisemitism on Twitter.
This does not make me unique. In fact, Twitter for a long time was a safe haven for hate speech because they had really lax enforcement of their terms of service. I chronicled the abuse I took on Twitter for a few weeks during the campaign, and here’s just a little sampling of what was tweeted at me. I didn’t get a screen grab of the guy who doxxed me and sent me a Google image of my home, unfortunately.
For the record, I’m Jewish by lineage, but my last name’s German, and I was raised in a Southern Baptist, Christian Conservative, Reagan 80’s Home. But don’t tell that to Twitter Nazis. Facts confuse them.
This week, a third of one of my accounts was suspended permanently by Twitter. To be fair, though they didn’t do anything at first to the dicks who sent me all that repugnant shit above, I’ve since noted the accounts were suspended. Twitter is so shitty at enforcing their rules that they don’t tell you which tweets got you in trouble, like Facebook tells you which posts violated their Terms of Service. Actually, Twitter will tell you after you appeal the suspension what your offense was. In my case, I was labeled as bad — in Twitter’s eyes — as Milo YianananananananaaBatman. Targeted harassment is what my charge was.
So did I send legions of my followers (LOL) at other uses like Milo? No.
Did I doxx anyone? Double no.
Did I threaten anyone? Hell fucking no.
What I did was speak profanely and obtusely toward and about public figures who support egregious and offensive policies. I make no excuses and don’t hide the fact that I, a potty-mouthed comedian, used a lot of potty words to talk to people like Ann Coulter, Donald Trump and his sons Uday and Qusay. I will also admit that I told people like Coulter to play in traffic or jump in a fire, both of which while mean-spirited, could only be interpreted as threats by the biggest morons on the planet.
I could tell something had changed when I tweeted a simple “Fuck you” to the president, something that while harsh is absolutely protected political speech, and I got a warning from Twitter that they’d detected abusive behavior. To me, saying “fuck you” to someone only becomes abusive if you do something, you know, abusive, while doing it. But telling the president to fuck off a time honored tradition that the twits at Twitter have robbed me of.
I tweet the things you shout at your TV when assholes are on it. Sometimes my tweets were angry, sometimes very disrespectful, but never rising to the level of harassment or threats. But here I sit, with three fucking dead Twitter accounts, nevertheless.
I know that my First Amendment rights have not been violated. I mean, I could make an argument that Twitter is keeping me from being able to seek redress from my government, especially because our Orange Diarrhea Sack in Chief uses it as his primary instrument of interaction with his subjects — excuse me — his fellow Americans is bogus and certainly cuts me off from the president, but that’s not a First Amendment thing. Twitter’s a private company, not the government. They can be as puritanical and stupid as the want to be.
It’s pretty hilarious to me, though, that Donald Trump can treat his Twitter account like a presidential cudgel. He can bash the media, politicians who oppose him, and anyone else he wants to without any consequences, and I’m the guy who takes it on the chin. Twitter won’t do anything
It’s just a violation of fairness and equity.
Besides, here’s the real thing that pisses me off: There is a rich tradition of people like me — brash, often profane — telling people like Coulter to fuck off. If Donald Trump Jr. is going to tweet sarcastic comments about anyone else’s lack of transparency or honesty, I’m going to call him “Overbite Jr.” and throw his shit right back in his face. Call me pretentious, but I see it as the closest thing to my patriotic duty you’ll ever see me do.
Just a matter of hours ago, Trump used a series of three tweets to rob thousands of people of their dignity and honor. He announced his misguided and mean-spirited transgender military ban on his Twitter feed, and did more damage to more people’s lives in three tweets than I’ve ever done to to anyone with all my tweets combined.
I know why I was suspended. It doesn’t feel much different from the times I was kicked out of class in high school. When you’re the class clown — which I literally was — you get used to walking that fine line between acceptable and unacceptable. I was suspended because I was reported by offended people for what I said. And I was suspended because Twitter has completely overreacted to their own fuck-ups when they didn’t more harshly crack down on abusers.
And they call us “snowflakes.”
When you’re suspended, they hide your tweets and your account from everyone else, but I would let anyone comb my tweets for things they feel should get me thrown off the site forever. Chances are, no one will find any. I never told anyone they were going to die in a purge, like I was told by more than a dozen Nazis last year. I did, however, tell a bunch of Nazis and Ann Coulter (sorry to be redundant) to fuck off, though.
So there’s that.
They give people the ability to block me. They give people the ability to mute me. But apparently, to Twitter, the better policy is outright censorship and a puritanical overreach that stifles conversation. We potty mouths deserve a seat at the table, too Twitter. And until you can sort out whatever bullshit mass reporting algorithm problems you have, it’s just going to get worse.
The bottom line is that Twitter has changed its policies and enforcement of those polices in response to the kind of abuse I got last year. And their overreaction has caused me, a former victim of that kind of abuse, to lose three accounts. Again, I’m not saying I wasn’t profane. But I wasn’t abusive. I wasn’t creepy. I wasn’t stalker-y. I was just a pissed off American comedian expressing his outrage.