Twitter thinks I am promoting violence...why?

This happened to me when I tweeted the above tweet in the summer of 2021. I decided to take the long route for 2 reasons: I wanted to see how their appeal process worked and I felt it was a good excuse to stay off of Twitter for some time and work on my PhD proposal.

So, I made my appeal that was simply along the lines of "What did I do wrong?". I can understand that they could have simply stereotyped me as an ultra  religious Saudi Arabian and were avoiding "Feeding the troll". I also could understand that explaining how my tweet was flagged for hateful conduct might help evildoers avoid being detected.

Yes, I could do my own guessing and investigation to figure out why it could have been flagged. I asked a couple of Saudi Arabian friends what could have caused this tweet to be flagged and it revolved around two words; لقيط (foundling/bastard) and زانية  (fornicator/adulteress).

Just a little context, I was responding to a tweet complaining that those who are born out of wedlock have a hard time integrating into society and concluded by asking for refuge from fornication and tagged with #Hijab. We can see below that the word لقيط is used and the tweet is still up, even though the context is different.  

My response was basically saying that even if not wearing a hijab leads to fornication and being born out of wedlock, it doesn't change the current status quo. A fornicator wearing a hijab will not solve the problem of their child being born out of wedlock. I find my response to be reasonable and I am open to hearing an opposing opinion to clarify where I went wrong, which is the reason I made the appeal to begin with.

The word لقيط was highlighted by friends as a derogatory term in Arabic slang and the word يتيم (orphan) is preferred for those who do not know their parents. Even with their kind explanation, I decided that لقيط was not the issue as it was mentioned in the tweet a replied to, which is still up.

The conclusion I have come to is that it is most likely that the word زانية was flagged as being hateful toward women who choose to engage in sexual acts before marriage or that someone specifically reported my tweet. This still creates an issue for the context of my tweet. I am not specifically targeting an individual. I am discussing a topic that is within an Islamic context that deals with fornication as a sinful act.

A friend actually pointed out that I could be in the wrong here Islamically. If the mother is a rape victim, she would not be considered a fornicator Islamically. I see their point. My only concern is that the original tweet mentioned the act of fornication explicitly and that rape is not part of the context. The friend also added that targeting a group (fornicators) is the same as targeting an individual. Using the word زانية in any context might be considered hate speech and the only way around it might be to just say "the mother" to not be flagged.

Lastly, I think Twitter could do better by being more transparent to educate violators properly. Yes, I could simply delete my tweet and move on. The question is, what did I learn from this? Not much honestly. Twitter could provide educational content to explain what I did wrong and even require completing a quiz to make sure I learned from my experience. Yes, evildoers can circumvent quizzes and learn how to avoid detection algorithms. The point is to make the incident educational rather than just doing what Twitter asks you to do without holding them accountable. While I understand managing platforms like Twitter is no easy feat, they have become like governments and should be held accountable as such.

PS: In case you care about the details, I made 2 appeals for the tweet. The first on July 8th, 2021, and second on September 21st, 2021. I eventually deleted my tweet on December 29th, 2021.

I am happy to hear your thoughts about this and update this post if needed.

Adel Al-Dawood

Adel Al-Dawood

Human Computer Interaction qualitative researcher interested in solving social problems through technology. Currently working on marital matchmaking technologies in Saudi Arabia.
Minnesota, USA / Riyadh, Saudi Arabia