Twitter suspended Tim Wellens after he wrote a poem about killing a fictional alien species, the Thargoids, which appear as antagonists in the Elite Dangerous game.

Wellens was suspended following his poem in response to Elite Dangerous’ own poem.

Twitter was quick to suspend Wellens for violating Twitter Rules “against posting violent threats.”

 

 

According to Eurogamer, Wellens attempted to appeal the decision.

“I explained that Elite is a space game and that thargoids are a fictional alien species in a game, and that I never ever threatened a real person or organisation on Twitter.”

He added, “Thargoid or foe, I’m coming to kill you, was directed to the thargoids and enemies in game.”

 

Tim Wellens

The appeal seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Wellens explained his frustration, “In the beginning I was very angry as I follow a lot of friends who I’ve known for a long time. ”

He adds:

“What hurts me the most however is the fact that I feel I’m judged by a computer, and I have no means to defend myself. It’s like fighting an A.I. I understand they have to use software to root out ugly tweets, but I was hoping a human being would do the investigation. It would have only taken them five seconds to see that my tweet was completely harmless – and I have seen much more violent tweets than mine.”

He even gets in a Donald Trump reference:

“Trump even threatened Korea with fire and death.”

Fortunately, Wellens would get his account reinstated.

However, Wellens ban is quite concerning as Wellens points out it appears that an AI made the ban and doesn’t have any context as to what he is referring to. It’s even more concerning when Wellens, who is merely talking about a fictional alien species in a video game is nearly perma-banned while you can surf all along the platform and find plenty of examples of certain groups lobbing threats of violence against people all of the time. What does Twitter do? Crickets.

Twitter has had a long and complicated history with censorship. They’ve allowed groups who call for political violence to continue to use their platform, but if you are just a gamer trying to kill some fictional aliens you could get the ban hammer.

All of this has to make one wonder is Twitter safe for other users? Could a joke about killing someone in Call of Duty Black Ops 4 lead to a ban? Because at this point it seems that one joke is all it takes.

 

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About The Author

Jorge Arenas
Resident Star Trek Specialist/ Writer

Jorge Arenas is a Governmental Affairs Director working in the Southwest. If Starfleet were real his career would be in a much different place. Currently, he specializes in all things Star Trek. He loves DC but has a soft spot for Deadpool. When not writing you can find him on World of Warcraft. Battle.net, ID-PassStage6#1707

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