When Internet services blow the dust off the banhammer, it's always an endless source of hilarity and facepalms. This time, Twitter's moderation system started banning people left and right, for a horrible crime: writing in Cyrillic.
"Though the trigger for an account to be suspended hasn't been specifically established, the prevailing hypothesis — based on users' experience — appears to be that mentioning @YouTube or any other major account in Cyrillic will get one in trouble," writes the Verge's Vlad Savov.
To unblock your account, you need to pass a CAPTCHA test and link a cell phone number to your account. But even that won't keep you safe from trouble, the Verge notes.
The embarrassing situation has been noted by journalists and Twitter users across the world.
"According to Twitter's criteria, a user is declared to have "links" to the Russian government if it ‘frequently tweets in Russian'," writes Michael Tracey, a journalist from TYT Network, attaching an excerpt from Twitter's rules. Surely a category that includes millions of people.
According to Twitter’s criteria, a user is declared to have “links” to the Russian government if it “frequently tweets in Russian” pic.twitter.com/vscVNZBBUh— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) 1 ноября 2017 г.
Other users can't stop make fun of Twitter's genial approach.
"‘OMG, we have so many Russian bots! Gotta stop them! But how?!' ‘Hm, they use Cyrillic…' ‘Oh? So start hidin tweets in Cyrillic!‘ ‘But…' ‘Just do it!' ‘Done.' ‘Nice!.. Beer?'," reads another tweet, adding "FUN FACT: Cyrillic is official script in >15 countries that are not Russia."
In @Twitter HQ:— El señor más maduro (@VSchwarz) 21 мая 2018 г.
‘OMG, we have so many Russian bots! Gotta stop them! But how?!’
‘Hm, they use Cyrillic…’
‘Oh? So start hidin tweets in Cyrillic!‘
‘Just do it!’
(FUN FACT: Cyrillic is official script in >15 countries that are not Russia) pic.twitter.com/ku4x391fdP
Twitter finally reacted to this problem two days after the Verge's request. The company said that they will look into the situation and will continue to fight spam and automatic behavior.