It is a period of civil war. Rebellious alt-right journalists and activists, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the authoritarian Twitter Empire. Tired of being censored, suspended, and controlled, user numbers are now starting to drop rapidly along with Twitter’s stock price, which is at an all-time low.
During the battle, Rebel journalists managed to find secret plans to Twitter’s ultimate weapon, the Shadow Ban, a secret way of silencing Twitter accounts by limiting the exposure and outreach of their tweets.
But Twitter wasn’t always this way.
It all came with the reinstatement of co-founder Jack Dorsey as CEO…
Jack Dorsey was originally Twitter’s CEO between 2006 and 2008, but lost his position to Evan Williams due to a lack of leadership abilities and a habit for leaving the office at 6 PM to attend “drawing classes, hot yoga sessions and a course at a local fashion school” where he “wanted to learn to make an A-line skirt and, eventually, jeans,” according to New York Times tech columnist Nick Bilton in his book about the founding of Twitter.
Shortly after in 2010, Dick Costolo took over as CEO but announced his resignation in June 2015, ready to step down in July. It is at this time that Dorsey was reinstated as Twitter’s CEO, and Twitter’s stock price started to fall.
October 6, 2015: Twitter introduced “Moments,” a tweet news roundup page that many users hated. It was situated in the place where “Mentions” had previously been, leading users to accidentally click on it when wanting to check their notifications. The people didn’t want it, but Twitter still tried to trick users into accessing it. It was a small issue, but this was arguably the beginning of the social network’s noticeable downfall. At close, the stock price is listed at $30.85.
November 3, 2015: Twitter replaces the social network’s iconic “favourite” button with “hearts.” Favourites were once an action of response to acknowledge, bookmark, or up-rate a tweet. Now they have been squished into an endorsement or “like,” changing the meaning of the action completely. Numerous hashtags are trending with users complaining about the new change. At close, the stock price is listed at $28.28.
December 4, 2015: A “mysterious bug” renders the anti-Social Justice and consumer revolt #GamerGate hashtag useless for a day, returning users with searches of beaches, wine, and gibberish. It appears to be the only hashtag on the social network affected by this “bug.” Twitter does not respond for comment. At close, the stock price is listed at $25.02.
December 15, 2015: Facebook, Twitter, and Google team up with German law enforcement in a promise to delete “hate speech” within 24 hours. The partnership is widely speculated to be in response to Germany’s large intake of refugee’s and a surge of negative comments surrounding this action on social media. Some claim the partnership has been used to censor discussion on immigration. At close, the stock price is listed at $23.95.
December 17, 2015: Actor Adam Baldwin’s Twitter account is locked for claiming that “#GamerGate’ers are much more attractive and joyous than anti-GG’ers.” At close, the stock price is listed at $23.31.
December 26, 2015. Twitter declares war on “Internet Trolls.” In a front-page spread of The Independent, the head of Twitter Europe declares that “trolls” will be forced to tie their phone number to their accounts in order to “tell the user that what they do here exists in the real world.” At close, the stock price is listed at $22.53.
December 29, 2015: Twitter reveals new harassment rules, hinting at more politicised priorities. At close, the stock price is listed at $22.47.
January 9, 2016: Milo Yiannopoulos’ Twitter account is unverified without explanation, creating a huge social media backlash. Many speculate that by this point, the social network is waging war against conservatives. #JeSuisMilo trends worldwide. At close, the stock price is listed at $19.65.
January 12, 2016: Twitter stock reaches an all-time low, listed at $19.62.
February 6, 2016: Buzzfeed releases an article speculating that Twitter is about to change user timelines from real-time to a more Facebook-inspired most popular to least popular feed. Users revolt with the #RIPTwitter hashtag, which trends worldwide, and numerous celebrities join in with the criticism. CEO Jack Dorsey responds with a tweet that claims the company is “always listening” and that they never planned to reorder timelines “next week.” At close, the stock price is listed at $15.72.
February 8, 2016: Numerous revelations start to float about popular Trump supporters being suspended from Twitter without reason, prompting a wave of users to come forward with similar issues. At close, the stock price is listed at $14.90.
February 9, 2016: Twitter unveils their new “Trust and Safety Council” featuring notorious anti-free speech organization Feminist Frequency. Users revolt yet again, and at close the stock price is listed at $14.40.
February 10, 2016: Just four days after claiming that no timeline reorder would be taking place, Jack Dorsey reveals the upcoming new feature to be available within a matter of weeks. At close, the stock price is listed at $14.90.
It is easy to see why Jack Dorsey is frequently blamed for Twitter’s recent failing, despite some users’ attempts to defend him. What was previously once known as a digital beacon for free speech has been brought down to the complete opposite in just months of Dorsey’s reign. Simply by browsing the accounts that Dorsey follows on the social network, and by looking at his friends and interactions, gives you an indication of the sort of political agenda that he’s attempting to uphold, and the company is suffering tremendously because of it. Users are starting to theorise when, rather than if, the social network will meet its end, and the answer in many minds seems to be similar: soon.
Charlie Nash is a libertarian writer, memeologist, and child prodigy. When he is not writing, he can usually be found chilling at the Korova Milk Bar, mingling with the infamous. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrNashington.