You may have seen a couple of posts over the past week grumbling about the new Twitter game Spymaster. I called it dull, and questioned the game play. Thursday night, however, I recognized that there was a great opportunity to have some fun with a role play. So I invented cold warrior Komrade Mashikov, the ultimate soviet war hero. Equipped with Leonid Brezhnev’s face (the back story is that he’s Brezhnev’s older brother), a somewhat incomplete Russian phrasebook, and a cheesy accent substituting V for W, and vice versa, plus a lack of any articles in the written word, Komrade “Mashi” was a cold war warrior.
Thursday Komrade Mashi started following everyone who tweeted Spymaster. Anybody who tweeted Spymaster was talking about the game, and likely might be a player as well. A tool called MyTwitterButtler made it very easy to filter all tweets with the word “spymaster” and follow them. If they were Spymaster players, then likely they would follow back.
By Saturday, Mashi was following over 1700 people, and had 300 followers of his own. Too may. Since Mashi was a character designed to lead an army of followers, I made a decision to prune those followed who weren’t following back. In other words, Mashi wasn’t going to follow people who weren’t part of the #mashring spy ring – twitter players joining forces with @mashikov to bring down other large players. Using TwitterKarma, Mashi dropped 1,000 “followed-but-not-following” on Saturday afternoon.
Imagine Mashi’s surprise, logging in this evening, to learn that Twitter had suspended the @mashikov account for “suspicious activity”. Never mind the irony that everything a cold warrior is about is suspicious activity. Apparently suspicious activity includes following a large number of people, followed by dropping them.
Twitter has announced new policies over the last few days designed to curb impersonations. However, Komrade Mashi is no impersonation. He’s completely fictional. As fictional, in fact, as any of the support and otherwise accounts on Twitter.
He’s gone, however. Not sure why and we’re waiting to hear back from the @spam account at Twitter. In the meantime, “Kontinue to fight, Komrades. Ve vill win!”
And Twitter? Care to comment?
June 15, someone called Delbius responded with the following note:
delbius, Jun 15 05:16 pm:
Thanks for your email. Follow churn (repeatedly following and then un-following others) is a violation of the Twitter Rules. Accounts that engage in follower churn are suspended for a minimum of one week. It’s been more than a week since your account was initially suspended; I’ve unsuspended your account.
Please strive to obey the Terms of Service and Twitter Rules:
Repeat violations may result in permanent suspension.
There you have it. Twitter’s vision of their service seems to preclude the kind of character represented by Komrade “Mashi”.