#TwitterLockout claims hundreds of conservative users are falsely named bots

#TwitterLockout claims hundreds of conservative users are falsely named bots
From Mashable - February 21, 2018

UPDATE: Feb. 21, 2018, 1:20 p.m. EST Twitter responded to the outcry over conservative users' accounts being blocked Tuesday evening by saying its actions had no political skew and they were part of the company's safety effort. A spokesperson directed Mashable to Twitter's enforcement page and sent this statement:

"Twitters tools are apolitical, and we enforce our rules without political bias. As part of our ongoing work in safety, we identify suspicious account behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse. We also take action on any accounts we find that violate our terms of service, including asking account owners to confirm a phone number so we can confirm a human is behind it. Thats why some people may be experiencing suspensions or locks. Note that when an account is locked and being challenged to provide a phone number, it is removed from follower counts until it provides a phone number. This is part of our ongoing, comprehensive efforts to make Twitter safer and healthier for everyone."

Original story follows below.

Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of Twitter users were locked out of their accounts Tuesday night, inspiring the hashtag #TwitterLockout.

The reason is unclear but evidence suggests a bot purge that may have flagged certain accounts inaccurately. Locked-out users were instructed to share a phone number with Twitter in order to regain access to their accounts.

The event is just the latest sign that Twitter is taking action against bot accounts, and yet continues to not be transparent or talk about the problem. That's long been Twitter's strategy, as Vanity Fair's Nick Bilton recently wrote.

Twitter has been quite silent about the issue, except in a brief response to the New York Times investigation on Devumi, a company selling fake followers. Prior to the story's publication, Twitter said it's aware of the problem and has a team that addresses the issues. But Twitter did not immediately provide an update when Mashable asked about a bot purge shortly thereafter.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, Gab, a social network that claims to be dedicated to free speech, received thousands of reports from users on its own site and after a Twitter callout, CEO Andrew Torba told Mashable.


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