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Twitter and their “shadow ban”

5 mins read

Throughout its fictional history the Daily Planet has faced its share of troubled times. Metropolis’ premier newspaper has faced destruction at the hands of numerous villains like Lex Luthor, Doomsday and Intergang. The publication has braved violent worker strikes, the death of Superman and its total destruction during the fall of Metropolis. Yet none of these threats silenced the paper of steel like Twitter has.

In the times of fear and confusion, the job of informing the public is the responsibility of the Daily Planet. A great metropolitan newspaper who’s reputation for clarity and truth had become a symbol of hope for the city of Metropolis.

-Superman: The Movie

In mid-autumn our Twitter account @DailyPlanetDC dissolved into the digital waves of the internet. Our account, which has been dedicated to reporting the news of any given category imaginable for years, had been “shadow banned.”

What is a shadowban?

The phenomenon was first noticed on Instagram in 2017, but soon flourished into other networks. When a Twitter account becomes shadow banned it basically transforms into a ghost. The possessor of the account can see other tweets but when it comes to interaction, it’s pretty much reticent. Twitter designates the account as hacked or compromised and classifies it as spam. This single title keeps people from seeing the shadow banned account when they like, retweet, comment or directly message them. The account basically becomes a shadow, hence the term.

How does this happen?

According to Twitter, a shadowban occurs for a number of different reasons. Either the effected account tweets the same link too often, they are reported by a number of different users, or the account retweeted a tweet from an already shadow banned account before it was deactivated. But the shadow doesn’t necessarily stop there. If a user breaks any of Twitters rules and policies it can fall into the ban as well.

Can the account be restored?

Unfortunately there is no definite answer for this question. For months the Daily Planet has ben clawing in the darkness in search for a way out of the shadows and into the light. We’ve contacted Twitter support in every possible way, we’ve emailed Twitter and we’ve restricted access and usage of the account setting a new password almost daily. All the while we lost our following count. Due to this, our followers numbers dwindled, fast. There was rumor that buying Twitter Ad services magically reinstated the account. We’re still awaiting the results.

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Photo courtesy DC Comics

So what’s the Daily Planet to do?

In the pages of DC Comics, heroes like Lois Lane, Superman, Perry White and even Bruce Wayne would come to the Daily Planets rescue. But this is the real world. Sadly, these heroes do not exist in reality. The Daily Planet has held a strong Twitter presence since February 2014 to achieve my life’s ambition: to create a modern publication based around the fictional broadsheet newspaper.

We accumulated a mass number of followers over the years on the social media giant while branching out to Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest at the same time. And finally, as we started a website in the fall of 2018, we were swallowed by shadows.

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Perry White. Photo courtesy DC Comics

We’ve attempted to contact support services multiple times over the past few months with no improvement. This does not work. The Planet has done everything Twitter supports robots have asked yet nothing improves. In short, we’re extremely upset.

We’re hoping for the epic newspaper to become a real awe-inspiring source of inspiration. Much like that of our comic book counterpart. It is our mission to make the Daily Planet a beautiful outlet for creativity and information, one day becoming a multi-media news organization circulating information in print and online. Information which is all gathered in a beautiful brownstone  with a familiar ringed globe rotating above.

This dream will struggle to fruition without Twitter. The comic book Planet has faced countless struggles, only emerging from the ashes stronger than before. This is just the first of many for us. We hope, no, we will emerge from the shadows and we will hold the truth of the world up to the light for all to see.

 


Featured photo courtesy Asad Saddique

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Zack Benz

I'm a journalism major and art minor studying at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I'm a big fan of Superman, I love architecture and I have a strong passion for all things Daily Planet

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