Tag Archives: TOS

Shadowbanned On Twitter? What You Need To Know

With the recent changes to Twitter policies, more and more folks are concerned about the so-called shadowbanning. Shadowbanning, also known as stealth banning or ghosting, is when your tweets are hidden from conversations aka hashtag searches. In other words, your Twitter account is visible, all the tweets can be seen – except when a person clicks a hashtag and your tweet (including the hash, of course) is not to be found. Similarly, your tweets will not show up in threads and conversations. All of this naturally neutralizes your ability to be found and therefore participate in conversations.

Other nasty side effects of being shadowbanned include not having notifications of your @ mentions delivered to the account you mention, your own account not showing up in searches for it, and your most recent images not being shown in the most recent grid, etc..

It should be noted that Twitter is not the only social media site or digital community to use shadowbanning; it’s just that Twitter has been the largest social media site remaining open to adult folks, so its shadowbanning impacts us the most.

Shadowbanning has a long history of use. Originally, it was used in online communities to keep spammers at bay — without tipping them off that they were being subtly blocked. It is designed to ban the comments of specific users whilst keeping the user ignorant that they have been banned.

Since shadowbanning is designed to keep the banned in the shadows of knowledge, not even knowing they have been so banned, you might have to use a tool to discover it for yourself. Here’s a free way to do that.

How does shadowbanning happen?

It appears one of the primary ways your tweets can be shadowbanned are the dreaded sending of “reports” of tweets. While based on user reports, Twitter then uses artificial intelligence (AI) to attempt to discern things, such as mature or controversial topics, which get other users to report, mute, or block an account.

It’s important to note that there’s no human judgment made here. Hence the additional concerns with new Twitter policies regarding sex. As noted at YNOT:

The sections dealing with non-consensual nudity and unwanted sexual advances may be the most relevant to the adult entertainment industry. As Starr himself admitted in the email, entire porn genres are dedicated to non-consent and stalker fantasies. Nevertheless, Twitter has expanded its definition of non-consensual nudity “to more broadly include content like upskirt imagery, ‘creep shots,’ and hidden camera content,” Starr wrote.

“We will immediately and permanently suspend any account we identify as the original poster/source of non-consensual nudity and/or if a user makes it clear they are intentionally posting said content to harass their target,” Starr stated in the email. “We will do a full account review whenever we receive a Tweet-level report about non-consensual nudity. If the account appears to be dedicated to posting non-consensual nudity then we will suspend the entire account immediately.”

Starr also noted it’s nearly impossible for Twitter to distinguish between real and faux non-consensual nudity, so “[w]e would rather error [sic] on the side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it.”

In a departure from previous policy, Twitter’s safety team will not require a report from an alleged victim before suspending an account for non-consensual content. Adult industry companies that produce non-consent fantasy material need to be aware the proposed new policy could be weaponized by anti-porn activists, competitors, dissatisfied customers and people who simply enjoy creating drama.

These new policies are ambiguous and subjective enough — without trading human involvement for AI. Yet, even if your account is not shut down for dealing with such (or similar) fantasy material, reports (complaints) — especially multiple reports — could lead to your account being shadowbanned. And since the act of shadowbanning users is to keep them in the dark about it, Twitter offers no official help.

Shadow banning, it should be noted, happens to mainstream folks too. And it’s here that we may find the solution to shadowbanning on Twitter. Tania (of When Tania Talks) reports on a tip from Milly (of Mini Adventures) that seems to work:

So what was this genius idea? Well, apparently the world revolves around money. Milly found that by contacting the Twitter Ads team and suggesting that she wanted to place an ad, but her hashtags weren’t working resulted in her Twitter shadowban being lifted. This was done within two hours of contacting the Twitter Ads team.

Apparently, just asking about the situation — not actually paying for ads — works. (Though, if you are shadowbanned, even paying for ads might be a worthy solution!) Though it should be noted that many adult accounts won’t be able to buy Twitter ads, if you’re stuck in shadowbanned land on Twitter it may be worth giving this a try. (At least you could open a dialogue.)

You can check here & here for more tips on dealing with Twitter shadowbans on my Twitter.

All of this shadowbanning — and general signs of the pornocalypse — is just additional proof to me that one needs a website of their very own. Yes, participate on other sites, playing by their rules. But never be entirely dependant on the practices, policies, and whims of another site.

TalkToMe’s Unfair & Unethical Attack On NiteFlirt

Clearly trying to capitalize on NiteFlirt’s latest policy announcement , TalkToMe (TTM) sent an email alert of their own members, or at least to their PSOs (called “Talkers”), entitled Your Voice, Your Choice!

talk-to-me-email

[Normally, I modify the font — but since they sent their email in comic sans (which is a much mocked and even hated font), I kinda felt like I needed to preserve it!]

Talkers, no one has the right to tell you how to make your money — not your phone company, not your customers and certainly not your billing & marketing service.

Adult Entertainment websites banning their “Flirts” from listing multiple links on their own personal websites and social media is UNFAIR and UNETHICAL. If these companies truly wanted their agents to succeed, they’d recognize every Talent’s right to promote themselves as they wish, and support their freedom to engage fully in social media. Companies who try to prohibit things like this are afraid of competition. We are not.  We believe in our site and our service. 

TalkToMe.com welcomes all Talkers, from every competing platform. Please try us and compare us! With over 20 solid years of experience in Adult Entertainment, we created our website with YOU in mind. We truly believe it is the best way to earn money talking on the phone — and we continue to customize our features according to Talker needs and preferences.

TalkToMe.com would NEVER ban our Talkers for listing with multiple companies, nor for promoting more than one listing in your personal accounts. To the competition, we say:  Bring it on!

For years now, there’s only been one decent option for independent Talkers — that’s never been good for an industry.  Whether it’s automobiles, airlines, or long distance service, giving consumers a choice has always led to better prices & better product. We’re confident we’ve created the next level in virtual, interactive Adult Entertainment (plus fantastic customer service), and we’re thrilled to welcome you to our adventure!

Don’t worry, we won’t try to tell you what you can & can’t put on your personal social media (we’re too busy integrating over a million high-traffic phone lines to spy on you anyway). Remember:  You deserve to make the most money possible, period. No matter how much traffic a company sends you, they have no right to mess with your ability to fill downtime.

Thank you being a TalkToMe.com Talker, we appreciate your efforts and wish you the best luck and the highest earnings no matter what website you’re on.

May the best platform win!

It’s fair — and often a great idea — to capitalize on a competitor’s weakness or exploit a competitor’s perceived weakness. But if you travel that path, you also expose yourself to risks. In other  words, you’d better do it right. And TTM did it wrong. All wrong.

Aside from reading more like a sales pitch to join TTM rather than an update for members, there are even bigger problems with this message. Let’s deal with the misleading and downright false information first.

False Statements TTM Makes About NF:

1) NiteFlirt is not “banning their ‘Flirts’ from listing multiple links on their own personal websites and social media.” Their policy is about links from NF’s site, phone sex operator profiles and listings, to personal websites and social media accounts. Lots of websites, phone sex platform sites included, have similar policies to prevent traffic leaks (as well as passing along SEO & PR juice) to competing companies.

2) TTM’s claim that NF is prohibiting PSOs from “listing with multiple companies” and “promoting more than one listing” is equally untrue. Even if NF wished for that, they have no control over such things. But they can, and are, taking steps to protect their members from leaving NF and taking their money to other companies.

3) NF is not trying to “tell you what you can & can’t put on your personal social media”; NF is merely stating their terms for what can & cannot be linked from their own site.

But there are even more problems with TTM’s email.

Along with misrepresenting their competitor’s weakness, TTM is also misrepresenting their own policies.

Facts About TTM’s Policies:

1) According to TTM’s own Talker Policy, “You will not use any banner advertisements or “pop up” windows or create or include links to sites which involve e-commerce, marketing, solicitation or sale of any items of any kind, whether related to or outside the scope of your Talker listing.”

talk-to-me-linking-policy

How many PSO websites, social profiles, blogs, etc., refrain from solicitation or marketing? Isn’t that rather the overall point of them? And even if you employ a very soft touch form of marketing, how many of us review and link to sex toys that are for sale — that’s ecommerce. And so are listings for competing sites and services.

Doesn’t it then seem rather appalling for TTM to say that “no one has the right to tell you how to make your money”?.

2) TTM’s policy also states that Talkers “will not place any link or other contact information on our Site to facilitate communication outside of our Site.”

talktome-contact-policy

Any decent website or blog has a means of contact — be it a form or an email address listed. And any social media account has private chats, direct messaging, and the like. That’s the whole point of social media: To. Be. Social. To communicate. So, according to TTM’s own policy, Talkers may not link to their own social media accounts and personal websites.

So much for TTM recognizing “every Talent’s right to promote themselves as they wish, and support their freedom to engage fully in social media,” right?

3) The above rules, and many others, are all placed beneath TTM’s primary policy for their PSOs:

talktome-talker-policy

1. In addition to the Terms and Conditions, you agree to comply with the following requirements in your use of our Site.
Without limiting any other remedies TalkToMe.com may have, TalkToMe.com may, in its sole discretion for any reason or for no reason and without notice, immediately modify or terminate your access to, membership in and use of the Site especially if you have violated any of the following requirements each of which you must agree to as a condition to your use of our Site

That means that breaking any of the other linking rules means you are in danger of being tossed or banned from the TTM platform.

Since TTM opted to not only use the words “unfair” and “unethical” but to type them in all caps too, it seems only fair and ethical to call them on their flagrant misrepresentation of NF’s policies and the denial of their own prohibiting policies.

And I have to ask them, “Just who is prohibiting things out of fear of the competition now?”

 

Is NiteFlirt Really Playing Fair With Their Latest Play Fair Linking Policy?

In the August edition of NiteFlirt‘s FlirtBuzz newsletter, there was an update regarding Play Fair, the phone sex platform’s department which enforces the NiteFlirt Member Agreement and NiteFlirt’s policies. Along with encouraging Flirts (& other members) to bully and report their fellow phone sex operators (as if more of that was actually needed!), the important part here really is about the linking policy.

Competitive Services

Your listings cannot contain links that connect to competing services in any way, even if the competing service is two clicks away (i.e., the page you link to cannot link to a page that links to a competitor). This includes your personal websites, your twitter pages, or any other page you are linked to, including “friends of” pages on your own personal websites. Watch out for this as it’s the major reason Play Fair will end up pulling listings down. Play Fair never wants to pull your listings for any reason at all. Please help them in staying vigilant and hopefully we can achieve this together!

august-nf-playfair

I’ll repeat it in bold: Your listings cannot contain links that connect to competing services in any way, even if the competing service is two clicks away (i.e., the page you link to cannot link to a page that links to a competitor). And, per NF’s polcies, “NiteFlirt considers the following to be competitive services: phone calls, Webcam, tributes/donations, recorded content, and content exchanged via email, such as photos.” Though at times it has been unclear if this competition is striclty alternatives for a specific Flirt (i.e. Flirt SuzieQ has linkage at her site to SuzieQ at NF and MPS) or if it is simply any other service period (i.e. Flirt SuzieQ has links to MPS girl MonicaMoans). Play Fair has taken action in both directions, which adds to the confusion.

In any case, this newsletter posting is quite different from the policies written on the NF site itself.

For example, the NF Social Media Policy states:

For Twitter, this means that you don’t mention or link to any pages that mention our competition in your Twitter bio.

niteflirt-twitter-social-media-policy

Here “our competition” would seem to mean any links to any phone sex, webcam, or other site that competes with NF in any way. And notice how the update in the August newsletter doesn’t state “bio” only, leaving that to mean anything on the Twitter page or feed.

And here’s the current (if even more meandering and ambiguous) NF policy about personal websites — which the new “two clicks” policy seems to easily refute (bold added by me for emphasis & easy comparison):

We do our best to allow Members freedom to run their own business while also enforcing our policies. We do not want to restrict Flirts, especially those with an established business outside of NiteFlirt, by not permitting them to do link exchanges and such on their personal sites. Therefore, we do not monitor banner ads on personal sites. However, banner ads to direct competitors will not be permitted. A site that only points to banners and does not provide any additional information about the Flirt will not be permitted. But as long as the banners are simply that – banners – and not other ways to contact or pay that Flirt, we allow it. Personal Websites is perhaps the most subjective policy we have and the hardest thing to regulate. We want you to point to your site to entice callers to call you, but we can’t allow Flirts to send our customers to their sites so they can be paid outside of NiteFlirt. It is true that a customer could come to NiteFlirt and find themselves on another site all together. This is true about most sites in the Adult Industry. If we were to prevent banner ads on personal sites, it would deter people from posting their personal sites which we feel often entices customers to place calls.

niteflirt-personal-website-policy

While NF talks about how important it is for Flirts to gain the attention of potential callers, and stay connected with current clients, it’s pretty clear to me with this new policy that any links to any competition are perceived as a threat and reason enough for Play Fair to pull phone sex listings. With this “two clicks away” policy, even a Flirt replying to a client’s tweet could be costly — because who knows who else that client may tweet with or link to?

It really does beg the question, “Do they understand how social media and even the Internet itself works?”

The amount of policing involved in such a policy — as in policing one’s own listings and sites, not policing other PSOs — is so absurdly huge that in doing so who would have the time to be on the telephone serving callers?

NF itself skirts dangerously close to breaking their own rules. For example, the official NF blog recently covered the AutoBlow2 male masturbator and in doing so, linked to SuperCompressor‘s review. (A better review here, in case you are interested.)

While the SuperCompressor site does bandy the phrase “phone sex” about, they don’t seem to outright link to any phone sex services — even on the “vice” pages. I don’t suppose they accept any advertising from PSOs either; they only seem to go as far into “sex” with their advertising as “dating”. But, I don’t know, wouldn’t the Mixxxer app be a competing service? (I bet if you linked to it, it would be!) Anyway, SuperCompressor reviewed that app too.

Both SuperCompressor articles were written by Jeremy Glass — whose Twitter account is linked to from the articles (that would be link number two, in this “two clicks away” policy). Glass has over 1000 followers on his rather active Twitter account. The activity includes Twitter conversations with porn star Allie Haze who has 117K followers she converses with. …Pretty sure somewhere in those numbers of adult folks, there’s a link going to a phone sex site or a porn star with a phone sex service.

This isn’t a one time thing with NF’s blog either. Another example: At the end of July, the NF blog dished vibrator history, linking to this article at BroBible. BroBible also talks about phone sex, but seems to steer clear of such advertising. (Not that I asked; their demo is males aged 18- to 34-year-old — which is so not where the real money is in the phone sex business.) But again, they are having plenty of sex talk with their large number of Twitter followers (103K). Not to mention the fact that the folks behind the sex toys and other adult products, who may not necessarily be followers or the followed, do like to interact, retweet, share, etc. back & forth with the product reviewers and website social media accounts to make the most of a review or promotion. Surely there are PSOs in their midst.

All this only serves my point: Who wants to police all that? (Not me.) And just how many clicks away can you actually control anymore? (Answer: None.)

This “two clicks away” policy is why, those who have asked and read about this in the NF forums, the official NF Tumblr does not (and should not, in order to be compliant with it;s own policies) display (link to) the the other Tumblr blogs they follow or posts that they “heart” or “like” — because they do not want to have to police those links, where they are linking, etc. It would be a bitch.

Some argue that at least NF is allowing some links out. That, they say, is “more fair” than MPS and other phone sex platform sites which now have strict “no outbound links at all” policies. But is it really fair to allow phone sex operators to place outbound links when they have no power over the actions and links of who they are linking to — especially when NF has invited & encouraged users of the platform site to police and report one another?

Yes, yes, I get that the phone sex platform sites do not want independent PSOs leaking traffic to a competitor; and it is their right to put into place such policies and controls. But fundamentally, this NF policy is a “no outbound links” policy and the safest thing to do is to see it as such and behave accordingly. If only NF would state it thus, we’d have a lot less pulled listings and a lot less NF members policing of one another.