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Twitter Bans Krassenstein Brothers For Operating Fake Accounts, Buying Interactions

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On Thursday evening, the accounts of the well-known Twitter trolls Ed and Brian Krassenstein were suspended.

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The two became both famous and infamous for their constant replies to President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, generally with calls for his impeachment.

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Between the two, they had nearly 2 million Twitter followers, and were often the top response to Trump’s Tweets.

With their suspensions, it appears to answer why they were always on top.

According to a Twitter spokesman they were engaging in inauthentic behavior by operating fake accounts and buying account interactions:

“Operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions are strictly prohibited. Engaging in these behaviors will result in permanent suspension from the service.”

Their partner at their “news” website Hill Reporter, James Kosur, confirmed the suspensions, but stated that he has not received a response from Twitter.

https://twitter.com/JamesKosur/status/1131703662961713152

The Krassenstein brothers responded to the ban on their website, Hill Reporter, where they deny any wrongdoing, and claim Twitter was mistaken:

“We never “purchased account interactions,” nor did we ever “sell usernames” or buy usernames.  We did operate multiple accounts, but there were only a few of them and they were not used to “mislead” or “manipulate Twitter.”  If Twitter investigated this thoroughly they would clearly see this.”

They go into detail about the “multiple accounts,” detailing that they were simply used to track threats made against them from figures that have blocked them.

“Over the past 2 1/2 years as our tweets became more and more political in nature, people began posting our phone numbers, our wives phone numbers, our home addresses, and photos of our homes, neighborhoods, and children.  These users had blocked us and the only way to see Tweet-replies that they were making to others was to use another account.  We were in constant communication with a contact at the FBI who we would send the threats that we had receive to.  We had sent the FBI multiple death threats we had received in the mail, from people we believe got our address from others on Twitter.  This is the only reason we used these two additional accounts.  Again we never used them to manipulate or mislead anyone.”

Ed and Brian Krassenstein have also responded with a more detailed open letter to Twitter which you can read by clicking here.

Big League Politics will update this story as more information is available.

UPDATE: Comment from Ed and Brian Krassenstein was added. 

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Twitter Launches Crowdsourced Fact-Checking System Called “Birdwatch” to Fight “Misinformation”

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Twitter has rolled out a new feature to fight what they consider to be “misinformation.”

The new feature, released Monday, is called Birdwatch. In a post on the Twitter Blog, Vice President of Product Keith Coleman writes that Birdwatch will allow people to identify information in tweets that “they believe is misleading” and to write notes “that provide informative context.”

We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable,” Coleman said.

As of now Birdwatch is a standalone site, though Twitter claims they will eventually make notes posted to Birdwatch directly visible on certain tweets.

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VP of Product Coleman continues: “In this first phase of the pilot, notes will only be visible on a separate Birdwatch site. On this site, pilot participants can also rate the helpfulness of notes added by other contributors. These notes are being intentionally kept separate from Twitter for now, while we build Birdwatch and gain confidence that it produces context people find helpful and appropriate. Additionally, notes will not have an effect on the way people see Tweets or our system recommendations.”

The format of Birdwatch will supposedly combine elements of Wikipedia and Reddit’s moderation tools, according to NBC News. Birdwatch users will be able to flag tweets from a dropdown menu on Twitter itself, but discussion about the flagged tweets will only be able to take place on the Birdwatch site. Birdwatch will also implement a rating system that will allow users to upvote or downvote the notes of others.

This is the logical development of Twitter’s commitment to identify and suppress content they deem “false” or “dangerous.” Keep an eye out for more such features in the future.

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