Critics have slammed the censorship policies of social media platforms, but the latest bannable offence is truly bizarre.
Twitter users have found themselves cut off from their accounts and prevented from posting thanks to a bizarre bug that seemed to have a particular problem with one American city.
Memphis, Tennessee is an important city in American culture and history – it’s credited as the birthplace of rock and roll and it’s where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated – but for a few brief hours on Monday, the city’s name was taboo on Twitter.
Users began reporting they were being banned, as others sought to capitalise by tricking followers into saying “the M word”.
It’s not clear why that city in particular was causing problems but Twitter representatives have said the problem has been fixed.
“The issue referenced was a result of a bug, and has since been resolved,” a spokesperson said in a statement to Gizmodo.
The people whose accounts were caught up in the ban have been hit with 12-hour suspensions, similar to what you get for your first two strikes of spreading misinformation about coronavirus and vaccinations.
In addition to many people losing access to their account after sending a tweet containing the banned word, it also allowed plenty of space for trolling.
It created hell for the social media manager of the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team as upset fans watching them lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday morning tried to get the account banned.
The bug didn’t seem to affect image descriptions or people with verified accounts.
One person posted a fake screenshot of the Twitter support account purporting to show news that the bug had been fixed and you were once again free to say “Memphis” on the timeline.
After getting several more people banned the account tweeted that it was “ya’ own fault for believing a single tweet from an unverified source instead of looking at the official Twitter pages”.
The official Twitter page did tweet some time after to say “a number of accounts” were “temporarily limited due to a bug”, and that it had fixed the problem.