I don’t know when exactly it started, but the circumstances are timeless.
A black woman starts a supportive hashtag on Twitter, which Trends…and that means Twitter at large finds out. The hashtag is trolled, and the woman harassed. Friends say her mentions are filled with abuse, so we all chip in to report it to Twitter.
A Jewish woman liveTweets a debate night on TV, and somehow her Tweets are shared to 4chan. (I’ve never been to that site, but have heard it’s even more toxic than Reddit.) Her mentions are filled with abuse, and we all chip in to report it to Twitter.
A Muslim woman sees the results of some website’s poll, and doesn’t believe Australians would want a ban on Muslim immigrants to Australia. She starts her own poll, expecting the results to be much more open-minded and friendly. But the poll is spread to 4chan and Reddit, where thousands of people – including a lot of people whose Twitter profiles say they’re American – rush to vote. Twitter time-locks polls after 24 hours, but for weeks the woman’s mentions are filled with abuse, and I chip in to report it to Twitter.
A woman well-known for feminism has recently released a book about being female. She often does public-speaking, and writes for some publications. And every time she does, her mentions are filled with abuse, and I chip in to report it to Twitter.
I also started a BlockTogether list. I’m not sure how it works, but if people subscribe to it, they’ll get to see all the Twitter accounts I’ve blocked, and maybe they’ll want to block them, too. And since reporting to Twitter sometimes feels fruitless, blocking someone will at least prevent them from reading your Tweets, and hopefully that’ll stop them from flooding your mentions with abuse.
I started all this a few months ago, maybe more. But I’ve made reporting and blocking a part of my daily online activity ever since. It is not pleasant. But when you know there’s a lot of abuse going on, and you feel like you have to do SOMETHING, this is relatively easy – done in the comfort of wherever, for whatever time. It’s non-confrontational. And even if reporting to Twitter doesn’t stop the abuse, at least you’ve pre-emptively blocked them before they can come after you. And if you can share your own BlockTogether list, other people can do the same.
How do I find more people to report and block every day? I wish I’d got everyone, so there’d be no need to do this anymore, but unfortunately Twitter doesn’t work that way. The thing about R&B’ing hundreds of people a day is that you see patterns in the abuse and the abusers. Certain terms they use against others. Their usernames. The images and hashtags on their profiles. Their stands on certain issues.
Not every abuser is so open with all of this in their profile, but most of the people I’ve blocked are. You start forming a mental checklist, and then run some of them through Twitter’s Search function for all the Tweets containing that word in their Tweet or their name. (The main word I search for is “deplorable”.) And though I report and block countless accounts daily, each new day brings up more.
By the way, Twitter’s Search function really needs to have a function so it will exclude Tweets from accounts you’ve already blocked. I could be a lot more efficient if Twitter was.
Another way of finding to people to block are the Trends. Click on one of them, and add “deplorable” to the Search, and block away. Did you know a lot of “deplorable” people watch The Walking Dead? I did by searching through the show’s hashtag today.
So what’s on my checklist? Note that while not every person fits every item on the checklist, there will almost always be overlaps. Am I really the kind of bitch who will block someone based on their political persuasion? If they self-identify as “deplorable”, I do. Got a problem with that? Try not being “deplorable”.
Here’s my incomplete checklist, a “profile” of the kind of people I report and block:
-Frog in name, avatar, banner, or hashtag – often referred to as “Pepe”
-“Deplorable”, “MAGA”, “Trump2016”, “NeverHillary”, “TrumpTrain”, etc
-Demands the “freedom” of people Twitter has banned for their continuous abuse of others – such as “FreeMilo”, “FreeRicky”
-“AmericaFirst”, “I Love America”, “Patriot”
-“Jesus”, “God”, “Christian”
-Uses terms like “kek” and “cuck” as insults
-Shares articles from Breitbart, Truthfeed, InfoWars, ZeroHedge
-Uses “globalist” as an insult
-Insults women’s appearances; comments on her family, “fuckability”; encourages suicide
I could go on, but I’ve shared enough. And if you think some of the items on the checklist seem harmless, they likely overlap with other items. And some of the items contradict each other, so you likely won’t find them on the same profile. But this is the basic overview of the kind of person who sends abuse to woman on Twitter.