Intergalactic fake news
October 4 was National Poetry Day, which, in parlance with the event, led to many people taking to twitter to express their thoughts and feelings through rhyme. One Elite Dangerous player, however seems to have taken things a little too far for Twitter’s sensitive algorithms.
Posting on the official Twitter account for the space-trading epic, the Elite Dangerous social media team offered the following poem:
There once was a pilot from Lave,
Who wasn’t particularly brave.
He encountered a Thargoid,
Who he tried to avoid,
But now he’s one foot in the grave!
Belgian Elite fan Tim Wellens, inspired by this simple limerick, responded with a kooky poem of his own:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Thargoid or foe,
I will come to kill you. o7
Unfortunately, Wellens then found himself on the receiving end of a suspension from Twitter. Quoting his own masterpiece back at him, Twitter accused Wellens of “Violating our rules against posting violent threats”, reiterating that “You may not make specific threats of violence or the physical harm, death or disease of an individual or a group of people”. I guess that includes fictional intergalactic villains.
Wellens has since appealed twice against the suspension, to no avail. Speaking with Eurogamer, Wellens spoke of his frustration of feeling he’s up against a computer, rather than human beings to whom he can simply explain the situation. “It would have only taken them five seconds to see that my tweet was completely harmless,” explains Wellens. “and I have seen much more violent tweets than mine… Trump even threatened Korea with fire and death.”
Algorithms, man. They’ll be the ultimate judgement of us all.