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Conservative academic Pamela Paresky suspended from Twitter for raising awareness about how the platform glorifies self-harm

She accused Twitter of blatant hypocrisy.

 

Jacob Seitz

Tech

Conservative academic Pamela Paresky was temporarily banned from Twitter for the past week after calling out what she said was Twitter’s promotion of self-harm.

On Sunday, Paresky penned a personal essay in conservative and anti-trans activist Wesley Yang’s Year Zero newsletter describing her spat with the social media platform. 

“On October 3, I criticized Twitter for how it deals with self-harm—specifically that Twitter does not enforce its ‘gratuitous gore’ policy for self-harm images, nor does it enforce its policy of prohibiting tweets that ‘promote or encourage suicide or self-harm,’” she said. “To illustrate how easy Twitter makes it to find posts with extremely graphic images and videos depicting severe self-harm (cutting), I tweeted some common self-harm codewords along with screenshots of a horrific self-harm post & accompanying comments.”

Twitter then used the very policy she said they weren’t enforcing to lock her account.

Paresky’s point about the proliferation of self-harm content is grounded in truth. To illustrate her criticism, Paresky attached to her tweet photos of self-harm content she had seen on the platform. Despite the tweet resulting in the lockdown of her account, the self-harm tweets she used to hammer home her point were left up by Twitter.

Paresky alleges that one tweet in particular—which she used in the tweet that got her account suspended—had 1,800 likes at the time she posted it. Two days after her lockout, the account owner posted the statistics for the tweet, which showed 13,291 engagements, and 67,332 impressions.

In her essay, Paresky relied on a study conducted by her and her colleagues at the National Contagion Research Institute that shows a dramatic rise in people “Celebrating, glorifying, and encouraging self-harm and suicide” on Twitter specifically.

Paresky has a newsletter called “Habits of a Free Mind,” which she describes as a “toolkit for engaging across lines of difference without feeling traumatized and without dehumanizing others.”

Paresky has published essays covering hot-button conservative issues like “Can College Cultivate Habits of a Free Mind?,” “Critical Race Theory is Back in the News,” and an interview with neoconservative New York Times columnist and climate change denier Bret Stephens.

Paresky also associates with Jesse Singal and Katie Herzog, hosts of the Blocked and Reported podcast, who have both pushed previous anti-trans views.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment regarding Paresky’s suspension. 

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