The Block Bot

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The Block Bot
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Type: Twitter Blocklist Management
Leader: CollectQT - Lynn


The Block Bot is a blocklist service that was created to block various people after the rise of Atheism+. In recent months, it has expanded into blocking supporters of the #GamerGate consumer revolt.

Before GamerGate

The Block Bot was originally created by @oo10n to copy @aratina's #BlockSaturday idea and automate it. [1] Aratina had been identifying people worthy of blocking and tweeting their ids with #BlockSaturday tag, so they can be blocked by his followers and anyone the hashtag.

The Block Bot was created for its users to ignore accounts they wish to ignore. It was heavily used by Atheism+ [2].


After Atheism+'s falling out and going into hiding, PZ Myers, an Atheism Plus Member, pushed the Anti-GG narrative and even encourage his followers to sabotage a Gamergate Poll, because according to him was that to be an Atheists, one must stand against GG (Since PZ Myers believes that it's always an misogynistic movement that overlaps with the same as harassing atheists). [3] [4]

Expansion into GamerGate

AreYouBlocked

Operation Earthquake emerged to inform neutrals on twitter about the blocklists. On Thursday April 9, 6PM PDT. GamerGate took to twitter and trend the #AreYouBlocked? Even using the aid of League for Gamers, which had created an online block check list for those to see if they are blocked. [5]

See Also: Operation Earthquake

Transfer of Ownership

@MAMelby became the new owner of Block Bot, when @Oolon gave it to her.


The End or Is it?

The @TheBlockBot team feels that their current block bot project, as it stands needs to come to an end. Mainly because the valid criticisms of it cause the The Block Bot community to loose faith in the @TheBlockBot tool. Also, because it's admins and blockers have been exposed to harassment due to running the service. [6] Valid criticisms which cause the closing includes:


  • Addressing diversity: The current team is not as diverse as it could or should be, a fact which itself reproduces some of the opressions of marginalised people (e.g. racism, ableism) that we wish to address. We have failed to rectify that.
  • Tending towards cliques: Groups of blockers are friends. Some have large accounts with lots of followers and this can intimidate either the users of the bot or some of the blockers.
  • Lack of flexibility: If an account is put on a block list by mistake or for a controversial reason, the appeal process is unclear and stressful. Especially with in-community blocks, trust may be lost.
  • Scalability: The original design was easy to implement within Twitter's API when only small numbers of blocks needed to be implemented; there is no way to extend the same design to tens of thousands, or potentially millions of accounts.

Questionable Blocks

  • The BlockBot keeps data on UK Citizen users and even blocks them, it violates the UK Data Protection Act because of this. [7] [8]
  • The US President, President Barack Obama, was classified by the Block Bot as a "Level 1 Harasser" by the bot. [9] [10]
  • Richard Dawkins was added in as a Level 1 harasser. [11]

See Also

Twitter
GGAutoBlocker
Operation Earthquake

References

  1. The Block Bot (archive) - [1]
  2. Introducting the BB (archive) - [2]
  3. Cracked Does Another Post on GG (Free Thought Blogs) - [3]
  4. A Brief GG Roundup (Free Thought Blogs) -[4]
  5. The GG Industry Blacklists - Are You Blocked? (Thegg) - [5]
  6. Sunsetting At The Block Bot - [6]
  7. BB Violates UK Data Protection Act Law (KiA) -[7]
  8. Mournblade and Sargon of Akkad Tweets - [8]
  9. Block Bots are Good and Are Not Censorship Tools -[9]
  10. BO is a Level 1 Harasser (Twitter) -[10]
  11. The Block Bot Fact Checked - [11]