Twitter has banned an Elite Dangerous player for writing a poem on the social media platform about killing thargoids.
Tim Wellens, an Elite Dangerous player from Belgium, was suspended from Twitter after writing a poem about killing the game’s evil alien race on 4th October – National Poetry Day.
Wellens replied to a poem tweeted from the official Elite Dangerous account…
There once was a pilot from Lave,
Who wasn't particularly brave.
He encountered a Thargoid,
Who he tried to avoid,
But now he's one foot in the grave!#NationalPoetryDay pic.twitter.com/yrHl1O0M1c
— Elite Dangerous (@EliteDangerous) October 4, 2018
… with a poem of his own:
“Roses are red
Violets are blue
Thargoid or foe
I will come to kill you.”
That poem was enough to set the alarm bells ringing at Twitter, which promptly suspended Wellens’ account. In an email sent by Twitter to Wellens, seen by Eurogamer, the social media company explained the account was suspended because it breached rules about posting “violent threats”.
Wellens appealed the decision. “I explained that Elite is a space game and that thargoids are a fictional alien species in a game, and that I never ever threatened a real person or organisation on Twitter,” he told Eurogamer.
“Thargoid or foe, I’m coming to kill you, was directed to the thargoids and enemies in game.”
However, the appeal fell on deaf ears, and Wellens’ Twitter account remains suspended.
Wellens, who has been active on Twitter since 2010 and had 4500 followers, has since re-appealed, but more in hope than expectation.
“In the beginning I was very angry as I follow a lot of friends who I’ve known for a long time,” he said.
“What hurts me the most however is the fact that I feel I’m judged by a computer, and I have no means to defend myself. It’s like fighting an A.I. I understand they have to use software to root out ugly tweets, but I was hoping a human being would do the investigation. It would have only taken them five seconds to see that my tweet was completely harmless – and I have seen much more violent tweets than mine.
“Trump even threatened Korea with fire and death.”
Funnily enough, Wellens isn’t the only Elite Dangerous player to have their Twitter account suspended for a seemingly innocuous reason recently.
On 3rd October, Graeme Crawford, a full-time streamer based in the Hague but originally from the UK, was also suspended from the social media platform – and his appeal was rejected, too.
Crawford, who goes by the name DJ Truthsayer and regularly streams Elite Dangerous, replied to a banter video his friend had posted on Twitter with the following: “I’m going to kill you when I’m not ill.”
Crawford’s Twitter account was suspended, and his appeal was rejected – despite the “victim” tweeting at Twitter itself to insist it was a joke between friends.
Crawford, who had around 1900 followers on Twitter, told Eurogamer this has affected his livelihood.
“I stream full-time on Twitch, and Twitter is one of the primary methods I have to be be able to talk directly to my audience, which is so very important,” Crawford said. “I’ve felt like I’ve been missing one of my arms whilst this has been going on!
“One of the primary things I use Twitter for is to let people know when I’m going live, changes to schedule etc – not being able to do that hurts the bottom line, no doubt.”
Crawford plans to email the general manager of Twitter in the UK to try to explain the situation (we’ve asked the company for comment).
“I’m assuming that my appeal was auto-rejected by a bot of some kind, as I really can’t believe any human would look at our interactions and assume that I was actually threatening my friend!” he said.
“I’m also trying to find other people who this has happened to, as it would seem that I’m not an isolated case, and I really do feel twitter should know about this if they aren’t aware that it’s happening.”
While Wellens and Crawford await their fate, their Twitter accounts remain suspended – and the thargoid threat continues.