To put things bluntly; I am frustrated to the point of tears and beyond tired of writing this same post over and over again. I woke up today to discovered that my Twitter account @ninadontplaymtg has been suspended, possibly for good as of roughly 8 AM this morning. Although I’ve recently had a few choice words with the hundreds of followers Ian Miles Cheong and Adam Parkhomenko sent into my mentions to harass me (before blocking them) I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the actual problem; based on when the suspension happened I think it was for the same old damn thing – posting links to my newest article on Twitter.
Below is a copy of the email I sent to Twitter through a variety of communication channels that explains why I believe my account has been suspended unfairly when in reality, I’m not doing anything that a whole bunch of “famous” people aren’t:
In addition to this email, I have filed something to the effect of fifteen separate appeals; so far I haven’t heard back and as it currently stands I’m starting to think I’m not going to. At this point I could spend a bunch of time explaining why it’s ridiculous that an independent journalist would repeatedly get her account locked and now completely suspended for posting links to free journalism that literally only her 4,000 followers can see, while still allowing actual neo-nazi provocateurs to use their website freely – but frankly, I’m tried of repeating the same obvious bullshit.
At this point the only reason I’m writing this story is to explain to my roughly 400 regular readers why this is probably a death sentence for this website. As I explained the last couple of times this happened, ninaillingworth.com is for all intents and purposes utterly dependent on Twitter to share links to my posts. Have I tried to diversify? You betcha; I set up a Facebook page for this website, I post links on Google Plus, I established a backup Twitter account which I begged my 4,000 followers to also follow, you can still find my writing through my Patreon account and I even messed around with Mastodon for a while. I also literally pleaded with people to subscribe to this website using the bar at the right, I begged as hard as I could for readers to share the stories posted on here someplace outside of Twitter as well – on their forums, on their Facebook walls, on Reddit.
The end result of these efforts has been: 129 subscribers, 40 Patreons and a backup Twitter account with literally 210 followers – so I think it’s safe to say “diversifying my social media presence to make sure I can share my links even if Twitter censors me” has been a big fat bust.
Now, let’s talk about traffic numbers and precisely why I’ve spent all this time begging my readers to help me survive the blatant censorship that’s trying to kill my livelihood (and as such, to some degree my reason for existing.) My first ever big story “The War Between Us: How the Clinton Media Machine Just Lost the Democratic Primary” pretty much had 30,000 views in it’s first three days of existence and the next week or so crept towards roughly 50,000 views. That’s probably half a day’s worth of business for a mainstream news organization but it’s pretty damn good for my crappy little blog and although I can’t prove it, I’ve always felt someone else thought that too because almost immediately my traffic dropped to a trickle. Over the next six to eight months most of my articles attracted less than a thousand views and even my most popular three only managed 10K, 8K and 5K respectively. Please remember this was before anyone knew that Google, Facebook and Twitter were all suppressing post reach for political statements they didn’t like so I legitimately thought I might be going crazy.
Since roughly February of 2017 however, things have actually been much, much worse as even more sophisticated measures to suppress political speech rich tech libertarians don’t agree with have come into effect; I just literally wrote the most important and effective essay of my life on August 30th and right now it’s hovering around 2100 total views despite me openly begging thousands of people to share it. Despite having over 4,000 followers on Twitter and posting links to each new article every hour all day whenever one comes out; most of my articles these days average about 400 views and if you can’t tell there’s something fucking wrong with that ratio then I’ll gladly trade you $400 for $50,000 if you’d like to see the concept in action.
The fact is, I’m being censored into oblivion by multiple billion dollar corporations and despite the literally thousands of people who’ve told me they love my writing I *know* you guys have done virtually nothing to help other people find it. I dunno if you’re too scared, too cool or just pretending you like my writing and too ashamed to share the shoddy work; the fact is tho, I cold search my own links on Twitter & Google and I get a report every day from the websites internal stats engine telling me where every single person who visits the site came from. Maybe my readers just don’t have any friends? No clue, but the time to puzzle this out has pretty much passed.
I see no point in continuing to write if only 400 people are going to read my work. I see no appetite for readers to help me beat a multi-billion dollar censorship machine that has no problem making literal nazis famous but definitely doesn’t want me sharing links to pinko political articles about fighting fascism, ending corruption and obtaining free healthcare for Americans. I mean guys; I begged for help and honestly readers just did not come through on that front – what else am I really supposed to do here?
I’m tired, I’m frustrated and frankly at this point if my Twitter account doesn’t get unlocked the “decision” to quit writing won’t even be mine. I’m going to take a few days to think about it I guess but right now I have a strong feeling this post is “so long and thanks for all the fish, but I wish you’d shared my work more because I’m fighting billion dollar censorship basically alone.” Anyone who wants to cancel their Patron donation is obviously free to do so and whatever decision I do make, I will make in time to sort out next month’s donations if necessary; maybe I’ll just freeze the Patreon account – I’m not sure yet; I’ll get back to you.
- Nina Illingworth
Edit: I realize that this is the bitchiest sounding post in human existence and for that I’m genuinely sorry; as you can imagine I’m somewhat despondent about the thought of having to give up writing because Twitter seems to think I’m a terrorist, a spambot or both. I also realize that some of my readers have tried very hard to share my work and perhaps this post doesn’t make that clear; it’s really not any one person’s fault. Companies like Twitter and Facebook are suppressing the range of links to socialist websites like mine, so it really doesn’t matter if it’s you or me posting the link to this site on either service; the algorithm kicks in and makes sure that post doesn’t reach all of your followers either and as such it takes a tremendous number of people sharing links to actually beat the blanket effect these algorithms have. All I can really do is beg people to share the posts outside of Twitter/Facebook and for whatever reason that just hasn’t been going so well; please don’t mistake the fact that I’m extremely disappointed in this situation with being extremely disappointed with my friends. – N.I.