Twitter is dying and it only has itself to blameBy Vadim Dovganyuk
In 2016 I offered my services to prevent botting on Twitter. Having been a bot-user myself, it was something I knew, and know, how to prevent, and it reached Twitter quite rapidly, asking me if I was interested in a job, a job that required me to resettle to the USA. Because of the requirement of resettling, it was a “no” to me. As I simply couldn’t, and can’t, move to the USA, as my life is primarily in Ukraine and Russia, and being a minor, it will remain here for the foreseeable future.
Still, that was one of the more positive parts, even though Twitter is cutting in their own hands by only allowing people who are willing to resettle to the USA work for them… Meaning it’s not wonder that the Russian, Turkish, Saudi, and Indonesian bots are still active all over Twitter.
As that’s a part which made me instantly notice that the Americans will not prevent botting any time soon, the fact that they believe most of them are Russian, even though the reality is the opposite, and currently the most active bot users are the Turks, not the Russians, followed by Saudi bots, and after Indonesian.
In fact, both Canadian and American bot users are more active than the Russians, which kind of should say enough already.
Moving forward, early 2017 I got banned of Twitter, quite possibly because of the fact that I revealed that I used to bot, even though back in the days it didn’t go against the rules of Twitter, which it does by now. Still, I got off lightly, and after some Tweets by friends and several emails to Twitter, including by a friend working at Twitter itself, my banishment got overturned with an apology stating that it indeed was their mistake. Sure, the apology got addressed to the wrong person, but meh, it happened, and that’s what matters.
But after the suspension was over, the side-effects of the choice was noticable all through the Twitter mechanics. Among the most notable was the search function that suddenly didn’t work as it should do anymore… Well, unless searching UNICEF should show there was no one related to UNICEF active on Twitter, and even searching Twitter itself gave empty search results.
Yes, somewhere in the coding of the Twitter system there was a mistake, and that mistake took 4 months to get fixed, after which I finally saw that Twitter does actually exist on Twitter itself.
And yet, it is not limited to that example, as the failures in Twitter’s coding shows incredibly often. As one of the other notable examples is known by those who have a follower base of several hundred of thousands of followers, the miraculous disappear and appearing followers. In simplicity, some followers only appear among the followers while checking through your own account after several days, even though others will already see those people following you since the moment they did do so. Causing sometimes awkward situations that you promised to follow back someone, but you not being able to do so as the follow doesn’t show at your screen. It is more of an annoyance than anything else, but a very notable annoyance regardless. It’s among the reasons why a 100% followback rate is hardly possible once you reach the 100 thousand followers, unless you use external tools, something which is not allowed by Twitter’s own rules…
And that is a problem that keeps creeping up on us, the fact that most of the functions that should be standard to Twitter are only possible to be done by usage of external tools, tools that almost always goes against the Twitter rules. For example, Buffer, a tool which I used to use quite dedicatedly, is not actually allowed by Twitter’s own rules…
Apart of that, the list of problems when it comes to Twitter extend pretty much to infinity, as I could also name the usage of the Microsoft translator, previously the Bing translator, which is known to translate about 1% correctly, and the other 99% with either complete nonsense, or in such broken ways that it would require the help of a cryptographer to ever find out what was intended to be said. In an age where Google translator is used by almost every other service, it only causes question marks why Twitter doesn’t use them.
So, with all those problems, it is quite obvious that Twitter is dedicating time and effort to fixing it all, right?
Actually, Twitter is focusing completely on safety, something which yet again causes question marks. As Twitter is not reachable by any direct way of contacting, they are reachable through the huge amount of forms that are spread throughout Twitter. A job that could easily be community-based, as it would take a few seconds to verify if a report is done for valid reasons. Meaning, you would let a few people verify, set up a maximum amount of allowed reports, and automatically suspend accounts if the maximum verified amount of reports in X amount of time is reached. Seems quite easy, and a team of about 10 Twitter employees would be needed to keep this all fair, as it would require some people to do the opposite, unsuspending the people who were suspended for invalid reasons, or who are given another oppertunity because of the severity of what they did being low. Think of copyright infringement as an example, the current main reason for suspension according to several sources. Apart of that, maybe an extra 10 people for those community-based workers if they have questions if something is actually an offense. 20 people on the few thousand people who work with Twitter? Seems like Twitter should have enough people left to fix all the other problems of Twitter.
Yet, as said before, that is not the case. There are actually bugs in Twitter that were already noted back in 2010, which is 8 years back already. 8 years, that is longer than the Syrian conflict is ongoing, and that is a problem that is truly hard to fix, unlike a fix that would require some coding to be rewritten…
And I could go on and on, but okay… The fact is that Twitter is falling behind it’s competitors like Facebook on a truly rapid scale, and Facebook is still actually improving their platforms, like Instagram and Facebook. Twitter is stuck fighting the same problems for years already, and their latest truly groundbreaking update could only be said that it was the API access, which was introduced in… I believe it was 2012, 6 years ago…
Twitter needs to either introduce something groundbreaking or fix its problems, as otherwise it is quite certain that it will soon die out, especially with their stock prices not having been hopeful in a few years also…
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The boost given to their numbers by bot accounts will not always be helpful, and by a lot of previous Twitter users moving away from Twitter, there will come a time that either Twitter has to close its door on its own, or it will be forced to do so…
With Twitter being the only factual public social media platform that allows actual chatting at this moment, I would only hope Twitter will notice their problems soon and start fixing them. And of course, I am willing to hand over the full list I have acquired of all known problems if they want to have it…
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About The Author
Owner of this blog. Ukrainian Jew of Polish and Russian descent. Citizen of 8 countries, as well as the European Union. Of Crimean Karaite heritage. Generally impartial at politics. Political syncretist. Opinionated but willing to listen to anyone's opinion. Certified mastering of 51 languages. Works in service of Sony. Active in support of orphans, foundlings, and other children without parental care in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Moldova, and Kazakhstan. Supporter of adoption and foster care. Mentor of 9 children. Previous foundling who now has been adopted. Diagnosed with health and mental health issues, but not disabled. Has a great love for anime, gaming, and TV series. Philanthropist. Social pedagogy graduate.