Popular YouTuber and Anita Sarkeesian critic Thunderf00t has been suspended on Twitter for taking part in “abusive behavior”.
The policy reads as follows:
Threats and abuse
Users may not make direct, specific threats of violence against others, including threats against a person or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, or disability. Targeted abuse or harassment is also a violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service.
Interestingly enough, Twitter allows what it calls “offensive content” as long as it stays within the agreed upon margins.
Users are allowed to post content, including potentially inflammatory content, provided they do not violate the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service. Twitter does not screen content and does not remove potentially offensive content unless such content is in violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service.
The YouTuber’s videos, which criticize Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs Women in Video Games series, have become a strong counterpoint within the GamerGate movement.
Speculation has arisen that this suspension was an attempt by anti-GamerGate activists to “warn” the YouTuber about spreading his content across the social media platform. “It looks like Anita Sarkeesian is personally responsible for getting me suspended on Twitter,” Thunderf00t said in the latest upload.
The account is currently suspended so we can’t officially verify the content of the user’s Twitter feed, but Thunderf00t goes on to point out that he “barely uses the account” and Tweets around average two messages a day.
Based on the content in the video it appears that he’s been suspended not because of his Tweets, but because of the videos he links to and spreads–the videos that criticize Sarkeesian directly.
This is an interesting development in the GamerGate debacle, which today saw a DDoS attack centered on The Escapist‘s GamerGate forums. The Games Journo Pros e-mail group was uncovered just yesterday, further reinforcing the argument that video games journalism is too tight-knit and lacks critical distance.
The implications of these claims remain clear, and solidify a more troublesome trend: the majority crushes the minority with just cause and its overwhelming might, using social media to further perpetuate the echo-chamber effect.
At this point Twitter is being used as a megaphone by journalists and industry veterans to enact a sense of moral authority, and it seems to be working; those with large amounts of followers are heard while others remain lost in the tumult.
And what’s worse is that critics–such as the Factual Feminist’s Christina Hoff Sommers–are actively dismantled by the media, albeit in an editorial, opinionated capacity. It seems that anyone who challenges a champion has an “example made of them”.
Furthermore it seems that Twitter may have a biased agenda to censor criticism, mimicking the current GamerGate censorship across 4Chan’s /v/ forum and Reddit. Can we expect mass suspensions of big-players in the movement, including Internet Aristocrat and perhaps even Adam Baldwin?
Thunderf00t has coined the phrase ‘Sarkeesian Effect’ for this apparent retaliation, but at this point it remains unclear if Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian had anything to do with the suspension.
The suspension may just be on the part of Twitter, who holds discretion on case-by-case bases. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops in the future, and whether or not Thunderf00t’s account will be reinstated or not.
For now it looks rather suspicious–especially considering how Sarkeesian responds to criticism–but it’s too early to tell who’s at fault, whether it’s Thunderf00t himself, Twitter, or possibly FemFreq.