Why Does Twitter Want You to Eat Tide Pods?

Yes, this is absolutely a piece about getting banned from Twitter, which is very 2014 of me. But here we are.

It started, as you might expect, with notable abject failure-cum-racist Mark Latham. A person who’s list of achievements started and ended at once wearing a dirty polo shirt and oversized shorts to the Prime Minister’s XI cricket game at Manuka Oval, Canberra, a few years ago.

Mark Latham, unfortunately these days sitting as a member of the clown car that is the New South Wales Upper House of parliament and is not at all just grifting Yet Another Public Salary Because He’s Otherwise Unemployable, spent some time recently vanity searching his name on the website Twitter dot com and stumbled across this tweet from Erin.

Naturally, because he now wears (I hope) laundered shirts and correctly fitting trousers, he got a bit upset.

Four days after the fact, Mark Latham was out vanity searching and hurling what he thinks is incredible material at a typo that was corrected within three-minutes of the original post. But you don’t see that when you’re vanity searching.

Naturally, I saw the interaction and decided to jump in with the following:

Now, he asks reaching to one side of a first-year communication textbook that for reasons passing understanding he still has despite graduating 4 years ago, what do you think would be the dominant reading of this particular text?

Would you interpret it as a warning as to the dangers of sustained consumption of concentrated dishwashing powder as a form of sustenance?

Or do you believe that the dominant reading of this text could be that I were encouraging the consumption of concentrated dishwashing powder, with the goal of obtaining ascension to the Mark Latham plane of existence. A goal that, in attempting to achieve it, one would incur all manner of issues with their digestive tract as a result of consuming said concentrated dishwashing powder?

I’ll give you a minute.

So, yeah, you’ve come to the correct conclusion here in that, in context, in no way was the tweet an encouragement towards the consumption of Tide Pods. It was, in fact, the exact opposite of that.

So imagine my surprise when this email arrived.

Yeah baby. Telling people that Mark Latham is what happens when you eat Tide Pods is encouraging people to commit an act of self-harm.

At first, I wasn’t entirely surprised.

It’s not exactly unheard of for people that hold pretty disgusting opinions about their fellow humans tend to get very upset, very quickly when the slightest hint of their invective is thrown back at them.

They get, to borrow a phrase, triggered. Because they do what angry people do when met with a situation in which they find themselves not treated with the level of respect they seem to reckon they deserve.

They lash out. They fill their adult diapers. And they smash that report button because “it’s not fair!” that they have to read this sort of stuff.

I will admit, at this point, this is not the first time I have received an email from Twitter explaining that someone, who in any other timeline would have been laughed into irrelevance by people applying the slightest amount of critical thought, is upset that they have been called a name or two.

Usually these little tantrums result in 12 hours in the sin bin – which in Twitter parlance means your tweets are unsearchable, but your account is still active and can still be interacted with – and probably a solid blocking from the snowflake in question.

This time, however, the response from everyone’s favourite unprofitable social network was different.

As they had judged the tweet was an encouraged to self-harm and had locked me out of my account until I clicked a button that would delete the tweet.

No tweeting for me until I removed the assertion that becoming Mark Latham was a result of your school letting you eat Tide Pods for lunch every day.

Because that idea was one that would encourage people to self-harm.

I paused.

Huh?

That is…that is the exact opposite of what was being suggested here. Turning into Mark Latham is, in at least mine and probably every other person with more than two brain cells to rub together’s opinion, a bad thing. You don’t want to do that, so you don’t want to eat Tide Pods.

I didn’t quite understand what was going on here. Thirty seconds later I realised I was on the receiving end of some algorithm abuse.

So instead of deleting the tweet, I clicked the button that allowed me to appeal the suspension to, I hoped, would be a human that had completed primary (elementary) school to an adequate level that had allowed them to further their education.

“You cannot use your account while the appeal is being reviewed”. LOL. OK.

It wasn’t that big of a drama. This whole thing unfolded as I was getting into bed, so I logged out of my account and went to sleep.

Between eight and 10 hours later – I forget which and the point is not how long I slept but in fact I woke up feeling refreshed – I awoke, checked my phone and found an email from Twitter.

“Our team found a violation did occur.”

Now I was surprised. The text of the email was suggesting that after being reviewed, it had been determined that the suggestion eating Tide Pods would turn you into Mark Latham was, in the opinion of what I hoped was an adult human, an encouragement to eat pods of concentrated laundry powder.

Now, I’m not mad in thinking that this makes no sense whatsoever.

I suspect the notes I added to the appeal did not help, but that’s beside the point.

In any case, I was not getting my account back until I deleted the tweet that, in Twitter’s opinion, suggested that people should eat Tide Pods (which is bad for your health) is something you should be doing because it will turn you into Mark Latham.

Now, this is where we get to the outrage bit.

WHAT I SAID WAS NOT, IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM TO ANYONE THAT PASSED PRIMARY SCHOOL ENGLISH AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO COMMIT SELF HARM.

It just was not.

What I did was draw a comparison between a despicable and embarrassing excuse for a politician…even a human, and an act that will either dissolve your insides or send you mad. You’re ending up in a hospital either way, it’s just a matter of which sort.

But Twitter isn’t interested in context. Context and understanding requires an element of caring. And they don’t.

They don’t because they don’t have to. They already have what they want, which is being at the centre of The Discourse(tm) because all the politicians, business people of note and, of course, journalists are on the platform so that’s the prism through which we view the world now. Just think for a second about how many news stories you consume, regardless of platform, that contain the phrase “posted on Twitter” or derivatives thereof.

They also don’t care because giving a platform to genuinely bad people with genuinely bad ideas is fine by their ownership and senior management because they are those people. Either through having disappeared well and truly into their own arses by being involved in Twitter or because they’re genuinely bad people and this whole thing got too far down the road before we stopped and thought about it a bit.

So here I am. Banned from Twitter because an algorithm that doesn’t understand context or basic comprehension has been gamed by a man so sure of his convictions that he’ll quite happily say the most obnoxiously racist things you can possibly imagine but chuck a tantrum the moment someone speaks back at him in a similar tone.

Twitter, it seems, is quite adamant that you should be consuming Tide Pods and transforming into Mark Latham.

Make of that what you will.

(PS: There are probably typos but I don’t care this is my blog. I’d normally put here “don’t @ me” but at the moment you can go for your life. I can’t see them.)

1 comment on Why Does Twitter Want You to Eat Tide Pods?

  1. Mr Hatton,

    I absolutely love this piece, in fact, we’d love to publish it on our site. Please contact me via the supplied email, and we’ll chat some more if you’re open to such a thing.

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