X's sneaky censorship system
You’re a typical X user. You answer questions, give opinions and advice, get in arguments, encourage people you support, give condolences when people die, etc. Nothing is very remarkable about any of it. You’re not posting spam, or porn, or scams, not posting excessive profanity, not threatening other users, not posting racial hatred.
But, someone somewhere doesn’t like your activity. Maybe the information and opinions you post are detrimental to their organization or project. Maybe the things you post might cause them to be investigated, or land them in trouble, or lose money or positions of power.
So they use some method not known to the public to place your X account in a secret censorship mode, and the system starts treating all the replies you post differently than it did before. There seem to be a few different modes.
One mode causes all your replies to be put in the “more replies” area near the bottom of the thread. This area is actually intended for low-quality replies, but your reply doesn’t have to be low-quality to be put there. If your account in this mode, that’s where your reply will end up, no matter what it contains. This area requires at least one additional click to open.
Another mode causes basically the same effect, but this time your reply gets put in the “offensive content” area at the very bottom of the thread. It doesn’t have to be offensive to be put there—if your account is in this mode, your reply will go in the “offensive content” area even if it’s “Happy birthday! 😊”. This area also requires at least one additional click to open.
Another mode causes your reply to be hidden completely. It won’t show up in the thread at all.
But wait—won’t you be mad when you see your innocuous replies have been trashed or hidden? That’s just the thing, the key to the whole scheme—you won’t see it, because X hides it from you. The key to censoring and persecuting you is to prevent you and your followers from realizing that your replies are being trashed or hidden.
To execute the trick, X renders threads differently depending on who’s looking. When X renders a thread for you or your followers, it makes it look like your replies are visible to everyone in the main conversation area. But when X renders the same thread for any other user, your replies are hidden in the “more replies” or “offensive content” areas, or just completely gone.
Here’s how one thread looks from the perspective of censored user
Looks fine, right?
ULTRA_GARBANZO’s reply is visible to everyone in the main area. But here’s how the same thread looks to every single user on X who does not follow
ULTRA_GARBANZO (way over 99.999% of X):
Huh? What’s going on? Where’s that “Hello, sorry for this inappropriate response” reply? That wasn’t offensive. What happens if we click through to the “offensive content” area?
There’s just nothing there.
A totally innocuous comment by
ULTRA_GARBANZO got suppressed, made invisible, not because of anything it contained, but because of the censorship mode of the account. But the suppression is hidden from the victim and all the users who have expressed interest in what he has to say (his followers).
Nobody complains, because the harm is being hidden from the victim and everyone who cares about him. Nice trick, huh?
When your account gets put in a censorship mode, there’s no notification of any kind. The suppression seems to last about a week, and then it’s lifted. There’s no notification then either.
ULTRA_GARBANZO) estimate I’ve been put in the strictest censorship mode (the one that causes replies to be omitted completely) 20-25 times. Sometimes I’m only able to post freely for a few hours before I get silenced again.
At some point I got the idea to go looking for other victims of this system. So far I’ve found ten, two of which are paying customers. There’s no easy way for me to find the users whose replies are being totally concealed, but it’s easy to find users who are in the other modes: just click through to the trash can areas at the bottoms of threads and look for replies that clearly don’t belong there. Then check where that user’s other recent replies ended up, i.e., the main area, “more replies”, or “offensive content”.
Here’s an example reply of a user whose replies were being automatically sent to the “offensive content” area:
There was nothing offensive about it, but at the time I wrote an article on this user, all his recent replies had been sent automatically to the “offensive content” area.
Here are two more examples from another user that I found in the “offensive content” area. This user is not only a paying customer, but is apparently running for office in the US.
Again, at the time I wrote an article on this user, all of her recent replies had been sent automatically to the “offensive content” area.
Note: if we go back and check on these threads again, we may find that the comments that were previously stashed in the “offensive content” area are now in the main conversation area. But imagine the devastating effect of having your replies secretly hidden in a trash can at the bottom of a thread for a week. The damage isn’t undone by bringing them out a week later.
Your X account has a censorship mode that, if activated, causes your replies to be hidden in various ways.
If you’re in a censorship mode, your replies are automatically hidden in the “more replies” area, the “offensive content” area, or are omitted from the thread entirely, depending on the mode, no matter what the replies contain.
You can’t see that you’re being censored from within the censored account. Your followers can’t see that you’re being censored either.
The deception is done by rendering threads differently depending on who’s looking. You and your followers get one view, and all other users get a different one.
Being a paying customer is no defense. The system persecutes them the same way. Of the ten other victims I have found so far just by clicking around manually, two are paying customers.
The censorship mode goes on and is lifted without any notification. It usually lasts about a week.
It seems clear that the censorship is being done for political persecution reasons. Why do I think this?
I have three X accounts. Two of them are essentially identical in interests and content that I post, all political. The third one is strictly devoted to my religion. The three accounts stay authenticated in different profiles of the same browser. All three are coming from the same IP, same VPN company, same browser, same browser fingerprint… the two political accounts are almost always in censorship mode, but the one devoted to religion never gets interfered with.
Speculation and guesses, could be wrong, take with a big grain of salt
I think this sneaky censorship system was probably designed and written by the previous management and has been there for years.
We don’t know how users get placed in censorship mode, but based on my experience, I can make a guess: I think it’s probably being done by organized gangs abusing the reporting system. It’s not necessarily X doing this—it could be a third party abusing some of X’s features, especially if the third party has inside knowledge about exactly how those features work (many such people recently left the company).
We won’t know what’s really going on or how much damage has been done until it gets thoroughly investigated internally. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult for any normal person to get through to anyone at X who actually has the power to do anything.
Until this happens, the informational throughput of X is being ruined, because somebody somewhere has the power to silence some unknown number of users, while going largely undetected.
Thank you. I hope you and all your loved ones are safe, well, happy, and peaceful.