Twitter user “@RaphaelBeerlin” has been a thorn in the side of Twitter censors for quite some time. Now, Twitter has banned the web developer from using their platform. Twitter’s reasoning? He pointed out that another user had said the “N” word while attacking a German conservative who was arguing for unrestricted free speech. More on that at the bottom of this article. First, we’d like to talk a bit about what Raphael has done for the conservative and free speech movements as well as highlight his latest project to fight censorship on the social network. We’d also like to show you how you can check if your account is currently being censored on Twitter. More than two out of three conservatives are!
Back when the Quality Filter Discrimination (QFD) controversy erupted, it was Raphael who created the first effective means of determining whether one was being censored on the platform.
QFD was a method of censorship imposed on (mostly) conservative accounts as a means to remove them from the Twitter search feature. That means that when one clicked a hashtag or searched for a certain phrase, those who were labeled with a QFD status were left out of the results—regardless of how many retweets their content had received or what the tweet contained.
QFD status was not determined at all by the content of the tweets; instead, the status was determined by who an account followed and who followed the account.
It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that his tool, Shadowban.eu, was the primary impetus behind Twitter’s reversal of the policy.
Twitter’s Next Censorship Front
Lately, Raphael has turned his attention to the latest form of Twitter censorship, a new threat to conservative voices that he has labeled “deboosting.” At the time of this report, more than two out of three conservative users seem to be under the yoke of deboosting.
Deboosting on twitter refers to a type of soft censorship that targets (again, mostly conservative) accounts and limits the likelihood of their replies being seen.
When a user replies to a tweet sent by another user, their comments appear beneath the original. In the past, Twitter would sort those comments either by their sequence of arival (the first comment appeared first) or level of engagement (comments with more replies, retweets, or favorites would be ranked higher and more visible than others).
Recently, Twitter has taken a different approach.
User accounts in the United States are now graded, by some unknown rubric, to determine whether or not their reply should be easily accessible. If Twitter decides that a user’s account should receive limited attention, the tweets they post will be hidden below a “show more replies” button. But this is just the first layer of censorship.
This feature is ostensibly reserved for accounts that only contribute low quality content. In practice, it seems to target almost everyone with a dissenting view that would not be approved by Jack Dorsey and his ilk.
But it doesn’t stop there. Once one clicks to expand the “show more replies” button, there is often a second layer of censorship revealed. This one is labeled as “additional replies, including those that may contain offensive content.”
Often, these replies aren’t all that offensive at all. In many cases, they’re quite mundane. For example:
Unless a user follows the account that is “deboosted” they will not be able to see their tweets without clicking the “see more” options.
Check if you are “deboosted” on Twitter:
If you’d like to check if you’re deboosted on Twitter, it’s quite simple. Head on over to ShadowBan.eu and type your username in the box on the page. You’ll get a breakdown on your status across four different censorship formats:
So why was RaphaelBeerlin banned?
Just the other day, and we apologize for burying the lede here a bit, Raphael Beerlin was banned. In a conversation on Twitter, he pointed out that a socialist proponent of censorship had dropped the “N” word while attempting to attack a conservative who was arguing for free speech.
Raphael pointed out to the user that they were self-censoring their use of the racial pejorative, an act that is more than a bit ironic for someone speech-policing another.
To be clear, Raphael was NOT using the word as a slur, it was not directed at anyone, it was a quote. And that’s why he was banned.
Nationalist Review has obtained a copy of the “offending” Tweet from Raphael.
Translation: “When you recognized the logic and still write ‘N*gger’. It’s all the attempt to control language and thereby you. Nigger – is that the word you used here, right?”
This ban will not stop Raphael from continuing his work to make transparent the censorship machine in Silicon Valley.