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Astronomer banned from Twitter gets her account back; Know why

Mary McIntyre

Mary McIntyre

The Elon Musk time on Twitter has been a roller coaster. From employee layoffs to the banning of accounts impersonating Musk and other famous personalities, chaos has become the new normal on the microblogging social media platform. But even before Musk acquired, Twitter had its fair share of account mismanagement. Recently, one of the biggest cases of improper account ban was that of Mary McIntyre, a British astronomer. About three months ago, one of her tweets was flagged as “intimate content,” a warning usually reserved for pornographic or sexually inappropriate content. But what she shared was a video of a passing meteor.

McIntyre, based in Oxfordshire, England, shared a video in August showing a meteor from the Perseid meteor shower moving across the night sky. She captioned the post with “Here is the #IonizationTrail from the #Perseid #Fireball at 01:37 BST / 00:37 UT 13/08/22 from #Oxfordshire. Visually it was epic.” But despite that, Twitter flagged her for posting offensive material.

“It was not offensive or pornographic at all. It was just a meteor,” McIntyre told The Guardian. And after some prominent media, including the BBC, came out behind her, her account was finally reinstated.

The astronomer’s account was reinstated after an unfair banMary McIntyre celebrated her reinstatement with a tweet. She said: “I’m back!!!!!!!!!! After 3 months of being blocked due to my Perseid meteor video being flagged as intimate media, I wasn’t able to get my account back unless I admitted to breaking the rule. Huge thanks to the BBC and to everybody who has been tagging support for me :-)”.

Mary was initially given a 12-hour ban on the condition that she delete her tweet, agree to post intimate content, and violate the guidelines. However, she refused to do so. “It’s just crazy… I don’t really want it on my record that I’ve been sharing pornographic material when I haven’t,” she told the BBC.

And after her reinstatement, she finds herself vindicated. And that tweet still exists on her profile and doesn’t have any intimate content. “I don’t see how a human moderator could have been offended by it, so I presume it was artificial intelligence,” she added.

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