Hi Senator, or whomever this reaches. My name is Travis Alan Donald. I am currently a citizen of Ames, Iowa. I viewed the Senate Hearing of Jack Dorsey and would like to share some of my experiences using twitter.
I began using twitter in 2010 after a friend’s suggestion, as an output for my writing and desire to be part of positive social activities, and change. I have worked as a Freelance Journalist, and briefly for WSVN 7 in Miami, Florida, as a News Writer. I have published several personal websites, and been present in all major internet social networks since 1997. I have studied Linguistics, English, Sociology, Theology, Politics . . . enough about me, though, for sake of brevity.
Twitter, in my experience, runs on a platform of deception. Twitter puts forth the idea and appearence of a social network where users can register for free, and engage with all others using Twitter. The current and long standing deception here is, there is no option to have a 100% unfiltered feed. That is, if you follow, say, ten accounts, the expectation is, you will see all the posts these accounts make. The option to see retweets is available, however that is not what I am addressing. Twitter admittedly, whether by moderators or A.I., examines all posts, which I feel is fine and expected, for whatever purpose; it is Twitter’s forum, that is expected at the door. Twitter, however, admits to multiple undisclosed filtering processes that determine the value of tweets, posts, and by that judgement, decides how and, I believe if, they appear. With all filters off, twitter places selected user comments, regardless of date posted, at the bottom of the comment list, under a spacer, behind a link. When clicked, that list may also have another link similarly positioned at the bottom, baring a content warning, where more comments are sent. What is of most importance here, the comments themselves may innocuous. It is the user that has been labeled, and their comments, thus future comments, placed behind these obstacles, without any notice to the user. And, there is no way to tell how Twitter is judging you. This, no way for self reflection and examination to improve content in hopes for betterment.
Many may also be unaware of the many filtering options, set on by default, and the continual changes to these settings.
The verified badge, Twitter admits, needs revamping. I can say twitter has demanded my cell phone number for access, email accounts, and that is not enough to be a verified user account. So, in my worthless opinion, this badge is used in a clique manner. Thus creating a group of elites, of which, there is no defined qualifications, and therefore, the word verified is deceptive as it functions on subjective measures.
Twitter offers a list option to sort accounts. I suspect I have, in the past, been suspended for placing users in lists, verified users, and them complaining. No proof perse.
The current environment of “tackling hate speech” is over reaching the consensual meaning of the term. This is allowing for Twitter, this admittedly go-to social square, where business, politicians, public figures, anyone can meet and share their thoughts and opinions, to protect their selective, thusly defined deceptive, and admittedly incoherant user policy backed, verified accounts. And and as a non-verified user, I am subjected to the whims of those verified, who are mostly, beyond reproach in this forum.
I have much else to cover, however most of my other warry experiences were covered during the Senate Hearing. I hope my words ring true and timely measures are taken to allow for transparency of the issues and action taken for the better.
Travis Alan Donald