We’re all familiar with Twitter’s infamous bans. The reasoning behind the bans can get pretty crazy and fairly one-sided.
But it can’t get much crazier than being banned for threatening a peanut.
Luke Taylor at Vice wrote a hilarious wrap-up of his online “war” with the Planters mascot Mr. Peanut. Apparently Mr. Peanut is one of Luke’s favorite trash talk targets on Twitter.
A few months ago, I was suspended indefinitely from Twitter for threatening to kill Mr. Peanut. To be fair, this wasn’t my first time menacing the Planters mascot. Or my second or my third. By the time I was banned, I had been systematically harassing the peanut man for about four months. Sometimes, I promised to destroy him. Other times, I’d doctor a tweet to make it look like he’d done something you’d expect from someone super bourgeois or elitist—I once photoshopped a tweet suggesting that he would use his peanut empire money to avoid a military draft.
But otherwise, my game was going off without a hitch. That is, until May 31, when the monocled legume tweeted a nut-themed take on the phrase that made Bhad Bhabie famous. It read, “Cashew in the snack aisle how ’bout that.” Putting aside the fact that that particular reference was a few years beyond its expiration date, it was my duty, as ever, to take the nut man down. I replied, “I will fly anywhere in the world to kill you. Just name the place.” But then, a strange thing happened. Bhad Bhabie replied to my tweet with a quick “thank you,” and soon over 1000 people had liked my post. A day later, I received a notice from Twitter that I’d been banned.
Just in case you don’t know, “Bhad Bhabie” is that dumb “cash me outside” girl who has been inexplicably rewarded for her bratty behavior with a rap contract and representation in the entertainment industry.
Before you think the pretend peanut man was feeling genuinely threatened, note he gives as good as he gets.
Taylor says he knows his humor may have been over the top, but he never threatened a living person and it was all in good fun.
So, yeah, I’m mad. Of course I understand that in Twitter’s opinion, what I was doing was against the rules. But come on, it’s Mr. Peanut! It’s hard not to question the loss of my right to free speech on the platform for pointing my vitriol at a fictional character, even if that fictional character is the mascot for a brand. But brands play a strange role in culture now. In an article in The Atlanticlast year, the critic Ian Bogost wrote that there are, “new, personal bonds between companies and customers [that] feel uncanny—the brands are not real human friends, exactly, but neither are they faceless corporations anymore.” And when you are banned for having insulted one, it really starts to feel like social media companies at least, consider brands not only real, but also human.
LOL! Corporations aren’t people…or something.
Taylor laments his banning and the unjustness of being banned for good even after his appeal. He wonders aloud if he just got caught up in the “unintended consequences” of Twitter’s new speech policing.
The only thing I learned from being banned was that I’ll have to be more subtle with my jokes on my new account. (I’ll ask questions like why Mr. Peanut can’t afford more clothes than just a top hat and monocle, if he’s so rich). I’m still curious as to why Twitter would ban me when it has so many other realproblems to worry about? Twitter has been under fire recently for their inaction on banning hate speech on the platform; it’s possible my desire to fight a cartoon nut was just collateral damage?
Ya think? We on the right have been warning about this from day one.
First they came for the conservatives and I said nothing.
Then they came for the liberals who haven’t purged their social media comments from the last ten years and I said nothing.