Sarah Braasch: Shadowbanned



Someone I consider a friend appears to have been shadow banned by Twitter. Yes, Sarah Braasch. She’s been on a one woman crusade of sorts to right wrongs perpetuated against her by Yale University, and several major media outlets. She tweets a lot about it, well that may be an understatement, because this is now become her life mission: to restore her name and reputation. Although I’ve never experienced the trauma that Sarah has, I have investigated her case in depth, and written several posts (here, here, here, here, for a start) in support of the dilemma she is in, by nothing of her own doing.  She is tireless in her effort, and should be applauded because many might, after the least effort, probably give up. Not Sarah.

In this case though, Sarah is the victim of her own over-exuberance. She tweets, or has, numerous times a day, updating her followers on her mission. Within those tweets, she often “ats” Yale itself (@Yale) as well as some of the people there that were involved as well as the same for those media organizations she believes purposefully defamed her as a racist (they did, in my opinion). It’s the constant references in her tweets, I believe that have caused her account to be less visible, not only to her followers, but others as well.

I have a distaste for this thing, shadow banning, because I think that if there is a problem with an account holder, the platform, Twitter, should tell the user directly. Instead, it’s a covert way to suppress speech. /twitter have other options from suspension to an outright ban if they believe a user has violated their terms or standards. Which of these have Sarah violated? Well, it’s possible because of the constant tweeting against Yale that it may have tripped the algorithm for either spamming or harassment ( most likely the former, unless Yale has reported her for harassment). If there were complaints about the latter, I think there would have been a more direct response from Twitter, to either give her a 12 or 24 hour “limitation” where only her followers would see her tweets, or an outright suspension. That’s why I dislike shadow banning, It infringes on speech without having a specific violation of anything that may be either unlawful, or against standards, that the account holder is aware of at the time.

It’s been suggested to Sarah that she not directly address Yale, or any of the various media outlets directly in her tweets by including their user accounts. I would add, don’t even hashtag them as there may be another algorithm triggered by overuse. It’s okay to use the name of the person or organization involved in the grievance, without Twitter becoming involved. I hop she will take the advice of her supporters(I think she already has) because the downside would be for her to lose her voice entirely on the platform. Be smarter.



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