A Technologically Freaky Day

Jonathan Morris Schwartz
5 min readJul 28, 2022

Twitter suspended me for using the word “beaten,” and my car, out of nowhere, told me to “consider taking a coffee break”

Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash

Twitter suspension

I’ve been on Twitter since 2011 and am far from a provocateur.

I never use inflammatory language and I read my tweets over and over before I hit send. Yet after 11 years, I wrote the following, “Trump must be beaten at the polls or by another Republican.” And Twitter’s “language police robot” suspended me for 12 hours.

It did give me the opportunity to appeal but it also said I could just delete it and they’d give my privileges back. As if the indignancy and embarrassment weren’t enough, I had to admit that I had committed an awful Twitter transgression (the equivalent of copping a plea) and admit I was, indeed, guilty of breaking their rules and regulations…and would never do it again.

I recognize now I could’ve used better language….had I said, “Trump must lose (instead of being “beaten”) at the polls or be defeated by another republican,” I doubt I would’ve triggered a suspension. It’s nothing personal, right? The computer is “trained” to identify certain dangerous word combinations and isn’t smart enough (yet) to differentiate between an innocent play on words and something more nefarious.

I get it, there are certain keywords that trigger automatic suspensions…look, it’s their sandbox, I’m just playing in it.

I do know there weren’t any human beings involved in my 12-hour suspension because the moment I hit send it suspended me instantaneously, as if using the words “Trump” and “beaten” in any context necessitates a suspension, regardless of context. Of course, if you task your artificially intelligent security system to suspend people strictly for using certain keywords, regardless of context, you end up with a very large net….and there is no recourse…it’s their playground.

Your new car has a built-in “drowsiness alert” system

The second technological oddity was my Hyundai flashing a cautionary dashboard warning saying “consider taking a coffee break.” The first time, a few months ago, when this drowsiness-alert warning flashed I was flattered. How thoughtful of my car to suggest I…

Jonathan Morris Schwartz

Jonathan Morris Schwartz is a speech language pathologist living in Ocala, Florida writing about love, politics, philosophy, and consciousness.