Notes From Twitter Jail, Part IV
I want my stuff back.
It occurred to me, lying in bed this morning, that there was something bothering me about my Twitter suspension.
It’s not that I want my account back. I don’t. I’m actually happy to be off Twitter.
It’s also not that I am feeling the punitive sting the Muskrats’s wrath. I’m not. Candidly, I’m enjoying that particular pain like I imagine the masochist imagines the lash of the dominatrix’s switch. Suspend me again, Elon! Suspend me again!
It’s not even that I’m experiencing some kind of Twitter FOMO. People pretty quickly send me what I need to know from Twitter, and I have a few burner accounts with which I can follow news as needed.
But here’s the thing: I want my stuff back.
For more than a decade, Twitter has functioned as a kind of diary for me. Not a personal diary, but an intellectual diary, a comic diary, a diary of ideas and stray thoughts, a diary of photographs and things I stumbled upon, a diary of fun moments.
And then, all of a sudden, it was gone.
Twitter acknowledges these things belong to me, “You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your incorporated audio, photos and videos are considered part of the Content),” read the high-minded and generous words of Twitter’s Terms of Service. Yet the embedded assumption in any account suspension seems to be that Twitter can just make disappear all this stuff that it acknowledges doesn’t belong to Twitter. And while it acknowledges that I own the rights to to the material, it seems to assume that I can just get it all back from somewhere in my files. Well, I can’t. Because my organizational system for all that stuff was, well, Twitter. So by killing my account, Twitter is actually killing my access to a whole of my property.
And some of that stuff is actually kind of important to me. It includes all of my #BabyCannon tweets. It includes the history over the last year of my #SpecialMilitaryOperations against Russian diplomatic facilities. In some cases, like my operations in Ottawa and Paris, my Tweets are the only full record of those operations. It includes the only real account of Lawfare’s life over the course of its growth and history. It even includes my correspondence with Clothing Monster over the delivery of my Fluffy Poodle Shirt.
And that, as Mastercard might say, is priceless!
When push comes to shove, I’m kind of attached to it all.
And I want it back.
So this morning, I sent off the following letter to Twitter Support:
To whom it may concern:
I want to stress once again that I am not appealing my suspension from Twitter. I am writing on a related matter: I would like a download of my data.
My Twitter history has some stuff on it that is important to me: the history of #BabyCannon, for example, and much of the visual and livestream history of my #SpecialMilitaryOperations against Russian diplomatic facilities. Twitter acknowledges that I own the content I have posted to Twitter over the years. See Twitter Terms of Service: “You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your incorporated audio, photos and videos are considered part of the Content).”
It seems to me only fair that Twitter return it to me in terminating my account.
What’s more, I ask that after—and only after—returning to me a copy of what Twitter concedes to be my intellectual property, Twitter delete my account in its entirety. If Twitter decides (as is its right) to decline to provide me service any longer, I am free to decide that I no longer “grant [Twitter] a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods now known or later developed (for clarity, these rights include, for example, curating, transforming, and translating).” Indeed, I no longer grant Twitter the right to possess or retain copies of what is concededly my intellectual property.
I sincerely hope this won’t require litigation to resolve.
Today’s #BeastOfTheDay is this lion whose picture I snapped on the road to Heathrow to fly home:
And here’s a little something special: