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Twitter is suspending accounts tweeting the phrase 'Kill me' even jokingly

Please don't kill us Twitter!

by Ivan Mehta

Twitter safety and security has been a topic of debate for a long time. But in recent days another mystery has surfaced which will make you wonder. The microblogging website is temporarily suspending accounts which are using the words 'kill me' in their tweets. It doesn't really matter if it is a joke or a passing comment when your feet are killing you. In past several days, many incidents like that have surfaced.

Twitter statement: "Self harm is an extremely complex and sensitive issue with serious implications that we take seriously. We allow content from users where they express their struggles or seek help. However, we take down reported content that promotes or encourages suicide or self harm. Context is very important when it comes to Tweets using language which could pertain to self harm. For example, a user could post “Craving Mexican food and my favourite restaurant is closed...I want to kill myself” without any intention of self harming. As such, we do not remove these Tweets in an automated way and rely on bystander reporting as human review plays an important role." 

Initially, the users get blocked for 12 hours but if they repeat the wordings, they are getting suspended for a week.

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And there are other cases as well where people tweeted out "kill me" sarcastically but it was taken seriously.

We reached out to Twitter for a comment. The company said it doesn't comment on individual accounts.

Twitter's policy from its blog says

"We’ve always shared resources with people experiencing suicidal or self-harming thoughts when we learn of such behaviour, and removed any Tweets that encourage or promote suicide games. Our updated policy on suicide and self-harm clarifies how strictly we enforce this policy, and how we communicate with anyone promoting or encouraging this type of behaviour."

However, the link given in screenshots above has no effective meaning as Twitter doesn't have any affiliate helpline for suicide prevention in India. One of the most noticeable things in each report is the mention of Twitter rules. Now, Twitter Rules on Self Harm says,

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Deep within the realms of Twitter policies, there is a paragraph on self-harm policies and consequences.

"The first time someone violates this policy, they will be required to remove the violating Tweet and be temporarily locked out of their account before they can Tweet again.

People who repeatedly violate this policy and/or accounts dedicated to promoting or encouraging self-harm and suicide may be suspended. If someone believes their account was suspended in error, they can submit an appeal."

The policy specifies that there Twitter inspects the reports. And if that is the case a lot of the cases above are clearly not violating the Twitter rules.

Now, this is not just a phenomenon going on in India. There have been several tweets from other countries who have been reporting same incidents.

Tweets as old as more than three years ago are being subjected to suspension as well.

Clearly, Twitter has made some changes in its algorithms. Since Twitter thinks this is an individual case we are going to attach as many incidents as possible in this story to make the company notice.

 

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Let's hope this comes to the notice of Twitter and some kind of action is taken soon.

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