In 1949, George Orwell introduced the famous phrase that causes the innate spine-tingling fear of an authoritarian, censoring, Stalinist, dictatorial, police state: “Big Brother is watching you.” For some reason, in 2017, the phrase: “ Big Tweet is watching you, ” does not seem to inspire that same terror – but should it?
On November 15, 2017, Twitter announced that it would begin monitoring the offline behavior of its verified users, specifically for violating its rules. For what end? To expel them from their social media platform? To denounce them for inciting hatred? No actually, to remove their verification badge.
Just to clarify, a verification badge is what confirms for other Twitter users that this Twitter account actually belongs to the famous person they are trying to follow and not some prole posing as said famous person.
If that above newsbreak is leaving you with questions like: “How will they monitor offline behavior?” (Wait… does Twitter partner with Amazon and their army of drones? *Gets up to check* Okay, never mind) “What constitutes inappropriate offline behavior?” “How quickly will they respond to inappropriate offline behavior?” (*Checks the accounts of Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein* – Not quickly at all apparently) “How important do I have to be to stalked by Big Tweet?” “Can I please get stalked by Big Tweet?” (If that is your question, please seek help!)
But rest assured, Big Tweet is watching you.
Another critical question is why is this the chosen consequence of inappropriate offline behavior? After all, if the consequence involves the beloved verification badge, it only opens up, like, really famous people to the laser-focused scrutiny of Big Tweet, it seems like us proles are entirely free from this examination.
So maybe Big Tweet is watching you.
To this question, Twitter offered an answer that, invariably, raised more questions. Twitter claimed that the verification badges are more than a mark of identity; it is also a badge of approval as well.
Some may ask if this is actually a valid assessment or an appropriate punishment? Let us go into the mind of an average, non-verification-badge prole shuffling around on Twitter and ask some questions. If they were to see a verification badge on the Twitter account of someone with a known un-Twitter like character offline such as Harvey Weinstein, would they automatically assume Twitter endorses sexual harassment? Is there an intended repercussion of removal of a verification badge? Is the hope that such an action opens up said famous person to an unrelenting army of Twitter imitators who are now free to plunder their fame like a loosed horde of peasants on their manor lord’s estate? And most interestingly, one other question raised comes with who has been disciplined so far. Why is it that a San Francisco based company has only taken action against far-right activists with un-Twitter like offline behavior and yet has turned a blind eye to un-Twitter behavior from the far left?
If you have these questions, do not worry – apparently so does Twitter! When asked further questions, the company declined to comment.
Should the average non-verification-badge Twitter user be in terror of Big Tweet? It seems like this recent announcement is about as vague as Kevin Spacey’s recent string of apologies to which there is a need for further clarification. Also, if the user has no verification badge, any attempt to punish in this manner will work as well as seizing the estate of a homeless man.
Big Tweet is watching someone! Read more security articles here!