Disappearing tweets of @left_of_labor mask stalking gulag troll attacking #auspol’s left flank: (suspended) @jansant reports

Wayne Jansson

Wayne Jansson

Chief reporter & photographer at No Fibs
Wayne Jansson is an Australian citizen journalist and photographer. He covered the seat of Indi during the 2013 federal election which saw Independent Cathy McGowan unseat Liberal Sophie Mirabella. His interests are politics and social justice.
Wayne Jansson

Australian political trolls

Jump to update: Questions for Michael Danby MP

Jump to update: The curious recent followers of @left_of_labor

At the beginning of March Twitter (@twitter) CEO, Jack Dorsey (@jack) publicly admitted via a tweet the platform has problems.

Later in March during the final stages of the Batman Federal by-election, the Twitter hashtag #BatmanVotes was sent into meltdown.

My Twitter account @jansant was suspended during the #BatmanVotes meltdown and it was engineered by @left_of_labor.

Here’s what happened to my Twitter account. A cautionary tale of how it has happened to others and could happen to you.

To me, Dorsey’s tweet was in part an admission it’s safety system was being used as a tool by trolls to harass, stalk and have users accounts locked or suspended.

I thought finally, a welcome admission the ‘gulag trap’ (among other things) is real, and we’re not crazy conspiracy nutters.

The ‘gulag trap’ refers to internet trolls, using multiple accounts or coordinating with other users, select a target and either trawl their timeline looking for tweets to report, or harassing a user until they reply in a manner that can be reported to, Twitter triggering a (originally) account suspension or (now also) lockout.

They use multiple accounts and human coordination with accomplices or unsuspecting (conned) users to target specific accounts and tweets so many reports to Twitter are filed about the target.

Large numbers of deleted tweets is a reliable sign a user is engaging in gulag traps and other types of trolling on Twitter.

During the height of the #BatmanVotes storm I woke the morning of the 13th March to a bunch of tweets in my notifications.

My last tweet before my suspension in the early hours of the 13th March, before sleeping.

A bit of background on the period before my suspension:
The recent admission by Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey regarding “harassment, … … manipulation through bots and human-coordination”, and recent tweets by @TwitterSafety left me feeling confident I could mount a successful suspension appeal.


A new improved transparent suspension appeal process, or so I thought.

I waited for the email to arrive with my alleged offending tweet/s, expecting to be informed which one/s had allegedly broken Twitter’s rules. It never arrived.

I contacted a few other users who have had the same problem with malicious reporting on their accounts by, @left_of_labor: they sent me some of the screenshots included in this piece, some I’d been sent earlier.

One of them sent me this direct message conversation they’d had with, @left_of_labor before becoming a victim of continuous stalking and trolling by the account owner.

I’ve placed it at the top because it becomes relevant in various places below.

Does @left_of_labor really have privileged access to @TwitterSafety?

Twitter declined to comment.

auspol trolls

Note: I received these in 5 separate screen shots and stitched them together so it’s easier to read.

A couple of points here beyond the (likely bogus) claim of privileged access to @TwitterSafety: the troll list is real and, @left_of_labor indicates strong knowledge of Twitter’s rules and how they’re applied, and reveals a capacity to defeat (or at least puts thought into defeating) detection methods to run multiple accounts.

Why write this piece? Because despite Dorsey’s recent admission, attacks seem to be increasing and #auspol users are being silenced and excluded from the political conversation by internet thugs and bullies.

With Twitter toughening enforcement of rules, it seems they’ve unintentionally made it easier for stalking gulag trolls to operate and be successful.

Often you never hear from the suspended users again: the digital version of being disappeared.

Craig Batty (@Resign_In_Shame) lost an account in 2017 to a permanent suspension at around the same time I had mine locked due to a malicious and deceptive, @left_of_labor report in October.

Batty was one of the driving forces behind the massive #MarchInMarch, 2014.

Craig Batty Canberra MarchInMarch, 2014. photo:@jansant

Anyone who follows politics on Twitter knows lately, Batty mostly promotes, Gifts for Manus and Nauru the crowd funded phone credit for refugees imprisoned on Manus and Nauru – now would be a good time to donate as his account is suspended again.

The group that trolls refugees on Manus and Nauru, and their supporters, the so called #WingNutSockCollective would almost certainly harass, Batty.

I’ve seen him being trolled by accounts that also troll refugees imprisoned on Manus and Nauru: trolling refugees, cheating at cricket isn’t our worst new national bad habit.

Suspension means refugees may not be able to contact lawyers, family and their much needed support networks; with self harm at alarmingly high rates the ramifications are obvious.

“harassment, … … and human-coordination” on Twitter has real world consequences.

Is this trolling a refugee, a politician or both?

trolling refugees

The user who provided the direct message thread is fearful of, @left_of_labor and asked to remain anonymous, I myself have received threats so I agreed.

online threats australia politics

The name “Noobs” indicates the owner of, @left_of_labor is one of the earlier Twitter users of #auspol, it’s a name that has thankfully faded as the community has grown.

The user @dotnetnoobie (aka Noob’s) is a former bot running multi-sock troll of #auspol whose account was eventually banished from hashtags. Trolling and Twitter gulagings were his sport.

A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person – source.

The account was first outed as belonging to a, David Theissen by Twitter user, @hyperdermik on his blog at http://waddayano.org/ : Search “theissen”.

@hyperdermik: “I also really enjoy what passes for virtual brawling in the hashtag #auspol

At first when supposedly outed, I also started to call the @dotnetnoobie account, Theissen but became skeptical so resumed referring to it as, Noob’s.

I’m not saying Noob’s is back, but @left_of_labor has a strikingly similar stench.

The threat tweet above has been deleted: welcome to the never ending deletions of @left_of_labor’s timeline: grab a pot of tea, it’ll take a while.


https://twitter.com/wotch_it_squeal/status/915203002767745027

This is what, @left_of_labor thinks about nurses, but you’ll only read it here now: @left_of_labor deleted it.
australian political troll

From Twitters rules:

Context matters when evaluating for abusive behavior and determining appropriate enforcement actions.

In a reply to the appeal confirmation email I included a tweet quoting (image content) a, @left_of_labor tweet.

I picked this one because @left_of_labor has reported my account before and bragged about. In that I am not alone.

The quoted tweet was deleted before I could lodge a suspension appeal: removing context?


I figured some words in the tweet may trigger an algorithmic response, but being in quotation marks obviously I’m not directing them at anyone, they’re quotes relating to @left_of_labor’s (now deleted) tweet.

As for calling @left_of_labor a moron, the account owner has trolled me and others involved with, Margo Kingstons’ No Fibs for a number of years (I suspect in various forms for much longer), including making threats like the one above.

Of course he’s a moron. and a fixated one at that.

I also sent this screenshot with a link to the tweet, @left_of_labor posted on Twitter taking credit for my suspension.

gulag troll
https://twitter.com/Left_of_Labor/status/973501327689920512

I do not have hundreds of accounts: accuse others of what you are guilty of?

Additional information

I also sent Twitter a screenshot of the tweet I was asked to delete in order to unlock my account in October 2017.


Consistency?

https://twitter.com/FightingTories/status/979284272417710080

I included this now deleted tweet stating: “The next time it becomes permanent.”


What was the filth?

There was a very long conversation (may have split into forks) about, @left_of_labor’s incessant trolling of progressive Australian Twitter users, both Greens and Labor voters.

online stalking harassment
https://twitter.com/earthma23/status/921029089758035968

The user @LelHulagirl63 mentioned in the tweet (2) above has been forced to constantly change her @ name because of harassment. Effectively forced into hiding from @left_of_labor.

A ‘Labor woman’ trolling Twitter women, or a misogynistic bloke with bot and sock accounts his only friends?

More information

So, @left_of_labor reported me for replying “no worries, he’s a annoying twat” in a thread originating as a discussion about, @left_of_labor’s incessant trolling, harassment, abuse, threats and “manipulation” of Twitter’s safety system, to suspend people of #auspol.

@left_of_labor is demonstrably an annoying idiot.

I suspect @left_of_labor pointed to American use of the word ‘twat’, not British and Australian use.

So much for “context” Twitter.

How did I get involved in the October thread that led to my account being locked?


I think @SamZawsum alerted me to the conversation/s because she knew I am trolled by @left_of_labor, she thought I may be interested.

See the padlock on her account above?

Another woman forced into hiding on Twitter by, @left_of_labor’s harassment. Note: I obtained Sam’s permission to include this tweet.

Twitter responds to my first appeal:

Hello,

Your account has been suspended and will not be restored because it was found to be violating the Twitter Terms of Service, specifically the Twitter Rules against participating in targeted abuse.

In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs on our platform, we do not tolerate abusive behavior. This includes behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence someone else’s voice.

You can learn more about our rules against abusive behavior here: https://twitter.com/rules#abusive-behavior.

Thanks,

Twitter

Hello Twitter, women are in hiding on your platform from, @left_of_labor because of ‘harassment, intimidation and fear’.

They’ve been silenced by, @left_of_labor who’s also been maliciously reporting my tweets to eventually “silence” me, permanently.

And he has done it to others, he’s tweeted the notifications from Twitter.

Some examples of decent tweeps @left_of_labor has gulag'd

The lead into the marriage equality vote was a terribly nasty time in Australian politics and especially so on Twitter.

In September I had my account locked and I was forced to delete a tweet.

@SpezPrez sent me some kind of gay slur tweet. I can’t remember the exact content but it prompted me to have a look at its profile before I responded.

I replied once and blocked.

Again quotation marks in the tweet, very obviously I was quoting the profile of this one follower now suspended account.

I swore at a troll vilifying people because of their sexuality, so fucking what!

@SpezPrez was demonstrably a homophobic twat sending me unsolicited vile tweets.

My brother is a gay man, the whole debate was offensive and deeply personal to me and my family.

DO YOU EVEN CONTEXT AT ALL TWITTER?

Was @left_of_labor involved in my September account lockout also? That is a question for Twitter.

But if not, how did @left_of_labor know “the next time it becomes permanent”?

He must be stalking my timeline looking for tweets to report, and keeping count of how many times he is successful: otherwise how could he possibly know?

More information
Note on account lockouts. appeal them if you feel you did not violate the rules, it matters. Don’t just take the quick easy option as I have in the past and delete the tweet. It would seem Twitter is counting – trolls definitely are.

While writing this I suddenly realised the user, @turdpolisher3 in the thread related to my September account lockout, looked familiar.

I’d had a brief conversation with the account and had not noticed its association to #auspol’s past.

Before and for a period after the 2013 Federal election, trolls were rampant on Twitter, they were mostly out in the open, running sock accounts, working in gangs and often not even trying to hide their activities.

Gulag traps were a sport they played, I got caught many times.

Twitter always denied the gulag trap existed which is why, Dorsey’s recent admission was welcome: I tweeted that opinion at the time.

Most of the serial troll accounts didn’t bother appealing suspensions, they just logged into another one.

Many of these accounts were created to target specific users. Two users heavily targeted were Guardian columnist and (now) Labor campaigner, Van Badham (@vanbadham) and criminal lawyer, Chris Murphy (@chrismurphys).

To keep the same troll persona, they’d create slight variations of a derogatory name of their victims real name or occupation when creating batches of replacement accounts. One account would be suspended and the next would be up and trolling again in minutes.

Badham’s trolls were noteworthy for vitriolic bile that could strip the heat shielding off a space shuttle.

Some thought Badham’s trolls seemed similar to the account, @dotnetnoobie. Some didn’t agree: how could you be sure anyway?

@jansant September account lockout linked to, Murphy serial troll account

So, a former serial troll account targeting, Murphy is in the thread related to my September, 2017 account lock out: interesting.


@left_of_labor has been tweeting (then deleting) and direct messaging users a list containing some of these serial trolls.

Badham's serial troll linked to @left_of_labor via direct message and deleted tweet

When the serial troll accounts of the type described above were most active, Van Badham was a vocal supporter of Greens Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt MP.

The account, @left_of_labor is one of the most vocal anti-Greens account in #auspol.


https://twitter.com/Left_of_Labor/status/693749103977566208

An interesting tweet, the gulag trap is all about trying to get a “twitter response” that can be reported to @TwitterSafety.

A quirk of Twitter’s rules, anyone can report any tweet, meaning abusers of the network like, @left_of_labor can make hay from sock and multiple accounts, making multiple reports – blocking is not a protection from trolls who use ‘monitor accounts’ to stalk users.

Making an account private is some protection, but how can you know the true intent of a new follower request when it’s so easy to play act on Twitter?

Brendan O’Connor MP quoted an almost identical, @left_of_labor tweet as I did, the one I sent Twitter to appeal my suspension.

@left_of_labor’s tweet is again deleted.

@left_of_labor has deleted tweets with the, Gillard “ditch the witch” “Juliar … Bob Brown’s Bitch” image posted side by side with the sign, Bhathal stood in front of.

While error checking this piece I discovered @left_of_labor had deleted more #BatmanVotes tweets. I decided to leave the section as I wrote it and note the change here.
@left_of_labor deletes most of his #batmanvotes tweets and replies

The account owner of @left_of_labor has deleted #BatmanVotes discussion participation and tweets on and before the 11th of March and some after that date, hiding his role in setting the #BatmanVotes hashtag on fire.

See last note regarding further deletions.

I’ve noticed, @left_of_labor only attacks accounts belonging to progressive users, both Greens and Labor supporters.

He often attacks me claiming I am a Green, I am not. I consider myself traditional Labor left.


This got me thinking: is @left_of_labor also deleting tweets to mask a deeper wedge he drives into #auspol debate?

I tested that idea on one of the most problematic issues for Labor, the Adani mine.

Here is what I found

@left_of_labor has deleted most tweets and participation in threads about Adani.

What’s still there or captured before deleted, contradictory.

Don’t try and get inside the head of a troll, it’ll do your head in.

At least one user has @left_of_labor worked out.

https://twitter.com/JeSeGrey/status/970493110886088706

Yep, you’ve just seen another, @left_of_labor deleted tweet.

All tweets in the below screenshot are part of a conversation (thread/s) that led to my account being locked in October.

Aditional information

In every @ reply to @left_of_labor, @left_of_labor’s parent tweet is deleted.

A screen name TheDevilYouKnow? Dances in basements with smelly socks would be more subtle.

I Google image searched the profile picture: @ghostfacekillah.

View screenshot of tweets from thread related to my October account lockout

@kangokid1966: “the goal is to get the victim to respond and then get the account suspended. It’s a weak move, but the only one that they can do”

Another reference to the gulag trap from what looks and smells like a sock account.

See the last tweet in the screenshot? @LelHulagirl63 is the same user as @LelHulagirl101, the same user who is constantly changing her username to hide from @left_of_labor: using sock accounts to troll.

Notice @NoFibs has been inserted into the thread? @left_of_labor often trolls the No Fibs Twitter account when he trolls me.

He also sometimes adds No Fibs editor, Margo Kingston (@margokingston1) into these tweets.

Remember @left_of_labor added @nofibs and @margokingston1 to the tweet containing a threat posted at the beginning of this piece?

@left_of_labor links self to @dotnetnoobie trolling of @nofibs volunteers
It just occurred to me, @left_of_labor deletes these tweets and without an @ reply, there is no evidence of the harassment.

If I get my account back, my practice in the future will be to @ reply with an angry face to record evidence of the harassment.

Does Twitter keep a internal copy of publicly posted tweets deleted by users?

Twitter declined to comment.

Regular #auspol tweeps will remember @rodgerrodgersu, he’s been inserted into the last tweet of the screenshot of tweets above related to my October suspension.

@rodgerrodgersu is suspended and still being trolled.

I hear you asking: but how can @left_of_labor troll a suspended account?

Trolling suspended users. Attacking the defenseless: the essence of a bully

@rodgerrodgersu’s name is being associated with bullying and trolling, and Rodg can not defend himself.


https://twitter.com/Trish_Corry/status/972568352592809984

The @Left_of_labor parent tweet was deleted, but @Trish_Corry’s @reply was liked by, you guessed it.

Shifting @mentions into often expanding hidden lists is actually favoring trolls.

When @mentions were in the tweet, you could see who was in the conversation at a glance and as a standard practice most people removed excessive, suspicious and malicious accounts.

It made it harder for gulag trolls to stay in a conversation watching and waiting to strike. Now lists grow to unwieldy sizes and most people don’t even look to see who they’re engaging with.

One of the worst changes, Twitter has ever made: it’s been a picnic for users with malicious intent.

A ‘Labor woman’?

Not likely.

https://twitter.com/Left_of_Labor/status/736149775272136708

The first three @left_of_labor tweets I could find.

Twitter search: from:left_of_labor until:2016-02-01


Stalking, trolling, engineering user suspensions, threats, intentionally blowing up hastags and conversations turning #auspol into a ‘virtual brawl’ might be construed as “causing tensions on Social Media”.

The Wayback Machine recorded the below snapshot on the 17 Nov, 2015 with 48 tweets – the account was created in October, 2015.

@left_of_Labor has deleted most if not all tweets and parent tweets in conversations for the period October 2015 to 31st January 2016.

Twitter search: to:left_of_labor @left_of_labor until:2016-02-01

And in times since, massive holes everywhere: you can see it in the countless hashtags, subjects and threads @left_of_labor tweets have been deleted from.

Trolls systematically delete tweets to cover their slimy trail.

 


https://web.archive.org/web/20151117102912/http://twitter.com/left_of_labor

An account barely a few weeks old is hardly going to have a parody account.

What was @left_of_labor referring to in the tweet, The Way Back Machine captured?

I am, @lubedupnoob the parody account of, @dotnetnoobie and this has been, @jansant.

Note: in 2014 I informed Twitter both @lubedupnoob and @jansant were my accounts. They agreed I had valid reasons for two accounts, one of those reasons was the regularity @jansant came under attack from trolls trying to suspend the account..

Update

Update: Questions to Michael Danby MP about @left_of_labor

Update 2: The curious recent followers of @left_of_labor

State of the accounts as at midday 14 April, 2018. Selected from @left_of_labor’s most recent 50-60 followers (approximately).

Account Account creation Activity on account Reason for noting
@santiquilla March 2011 dormant between March, 2011 and April, 2017. Stood out because it reminded me of the pornless and linkless pornbots that used to invade #auspol pre 2013 election, I used to call them disruptor bots.
@kirsty275 July 2011 First activity February, 2018. No profile info or profile image.
@AshroseDrive July 2011 1 tweet in 2017 – dormant. No profile info or profile image.
@goofster2 December 2011 2 tweets 2011 – 5 tweets 2012 – 2 tweets 2013 – 4 tweets 2015 – 1 tweet 2016 – 1 tweet 2018. No profile info or profile image.
@grci_ July 2012 Dormant until 9 july, 2017. Follows @NoFibs. No profile info.
@mutherdough May 2013 1 tweet. No profile info or profile image.
@maryjapples August 2013 4 tweets – 3 in 2016 – 1 in 2017. No profile info or profile image.
@Joseph0407M March 2014 8 tweets – 2 tweets 2015 – 1 tweets 2017 – 5 tweets February 2018. No profile info or profile image.
@gemmeg125 September 2014 489 tweets – 1 tweet 2015 – 6 tweets 2017 – remainder from Feb, 2018. 21.9K likes stood out as odd on an account mostly dormant until this year. No profile info or profile image.
@9a94f3182e1544f March 2015 14 tweets – first tweet January 2018 A handle of just numbers/letters common feature of spam accounts. No profile info.
@Terry34544298 December 2015 7 tweets – 1 tweet 2015 – 1 tweet 2016 – remainder there 2018. A handle with lots of numbers after a name is a common feature of spam accounts.
@RichardMcEvoy8 February 2016 1 tweet. No profile info or profile image.
@realCJoyce October 2016 1 tweet. A handle with lots of numbers after a name is a common feature of spam accounts. No profile info or profile image.
@imnotabot_bot October 2017 5 tweets. No profile info or profile image.
@bormonpriyanka1 January 2018 Hi! I am porn star.. Odd because it’s 354 likes are full of Australian politics, which is strange for a US porn star. Also odd a “Labor woman” allows a porn account with explicit material to follow her.
@Kelly64293426 January 2018 9 tweets A handle with lots of numbers after a name is a common feature of spam accounts.
@terryfinlayhot1 March 2018 3 tweets Stood out because an email address in the screen name used to be a common feature of bulk purchased accounts sending spam on, Twitter.
@lovebeautifull2 March 2018 4 tweets No profile info or profile image.

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Comments

  1. Gordicans says:

    Jansant, I still don’t get why you’ve blocked me … kind regards Gordicans

  2. Kate Emerson says:

    Hey Wayne, Kate Emerson here. I have today been suspended for 7 days for calling Aunty Neville a nasty piece of work and for another tweet from a year ago for calling someone a fool. Twitter have given me the option of deleting these tweets, but right now i can’t bring myself to. I have written to them to tell them what craps they are and so will probably lose the account permanently. All good as i am spending too much time on Twitter anyway, fighting racists and the #wingnutsockcollective. Before he went permanently, Roger sent me a long dm telling me about what was happening and how @Left_Of_Labor had made a sock called HelpRoger which purported to be Roger but of course was not. Twitter made a big stand after Charlottesville about getting rid of alt-Right and troll accounts,but it turned out, as expected, to be a token effort. A couple of accounts went, but the majority are still there, including the worst troll of all, Trump. Maybe i will see you again on Twitter if we both come back. If Kate goes, i will not make a new account. I will think whether to delete the offending tweets. After what i said to Twitter today, i don’t expect to get the chance. Good luck and thanks for your terrific article.

    • Wayne Jansson says:

      The bottom line is, nasty gulag trolls are effectively running Twitter Safety.

  3. diecastaway says:

    I was for a time targeted in that manner – I was constantly getting suspended anytime I challenged one of the far right loonies. Same used to happen on yahoo7 news boards


  4. Interesting to say the least. Note When a tweet is marked “unavailable” and it is from someone you have reported it usually means they have blocked you from seeing tweets from the reported account. Suspended accounts always same to reappear some time later only twitter blocks you from seeing them so their behaviour continues on twitter but you can’t see it. Interacting with the “trolls” is the most dangerous action as they do as you say try and provoke a response they think they can report you for. I tend to just quote tweet the offensive content with @twittersupport @Twitterau prior to reporting so they know the reportable tweet was up prior to engaging with an account about the content. A small but valuable practice in highlighting context. I hope one day twitter will find a way of removing multiple accounts and preventing those users creating new ones. Authentic accounts are what is needed if twitter is to be valued.


  5. Great article. It recently threatened to flag my Twitter too for merely posting even this very link.

  6. Shandah A says:

    I’m slightly curious as to why Michael Danby MP would need to explain to you who he follows on Twitter.
    Will you publish a list of who you follow,and why

    • Wayne Jansson says:

      I asked a series of questions.

      Most fair minded people would wonder why a Federal MP is following and interacting with a stalking gulag troll.

      If Twitter provide a fair appeals process and my account is un-suspended my followers list will be public, until then I can not provide such a list as it is unavailable to me.