zippered mouth

A new hashtag was born today on twitter : #TGDN. It stands for Twitter Gulag Defense Network and is the brainchild of twitter user @ToddKincannon.

TGDN is a response to the speech-silencing efforts of any who happen to know about the suspension algorithm exploit that exists on Twitter. For those unfamiliar with Twitter Gulag, it’s essentially a way people discovered to suspend accounts by tricking Twitter’s systems into thinking live profiles are actually spambot profiles.

For all intents and purposes, Twitter Gulag works because of HOW people tweet, and not WHAT people tweet. So, there isn’t a person on the other end of a computer somewhere, reviewing individual tweets to determine if someone is worthy of suspension. Instead, it’s a computer that takes care of the job, and like all computers, it CAN be fooled.

One of the parts of the suspension algorithm has to deal with (most of us think so, anyway) a profile’s following/follower count. When you look at an actual spambot profile, you’ll notice that often times, the profile will have a hugely disproportionate number of follows, as opposed to followers. Because, most people will realize it’s a spambot and won’t follow back.

For a lot of actual Twitter users, their profiles will look like this too, especially if they’re a new account and trying to find their footing in whatever community they want to be a part of on Twitter.  And how do you get more people to follow you? By engaging in conversations, often times with multiple people on a given thread.

So, between those two facts (out of whack on follows/followers and engaging in conversations with “strangers” if you will) the computer can be fooled into thinking a live profile is indeed a spam profile.

Enter #TGDN.

The idea behind TGDN is to create a massive networking movement, where people reciprocate with follows, in order to boost each others followers counts. If enough people do this, the hope is that a large swath of Twitter users, new AND old, can be insulated as best as possible from Twitter Gulag and the suspension exploit.

One thing that should be noted, though, is that there is another suspension algorithm for “aggressive follows”. So anyone participating in #TGDN should be aware that if you follow too many too fast, your profile has the potential of being suspended. I recommend trying to stay as even as possible, so your follow/follower count is one to one or as close as possible to that ratio as you can get.

From the response today (I’ve picked up hundreds of followers already) it appears that the Gulag soldiers have been out in force again lately, and that people are eager and willing to join this new iteration of conservative/libertarian political activism on Twitter.

Keep up the good work everybody, and welcome aboard!