PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia nonprofit organization focused on teaching children to write is facing Twitter troubles. They’re now fighting back with the hashtag #FreeMightyWriters.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but Twitter’s computer algorithms may have the sword beat.
“It happened immediately,” Mighty Writers executive director Tim Whitaker said. “It happened immediately.”
Twitter recently suspended the Mighty Writers’ account for violating its age policy after Whitaker updated the nonprofit’s profile.
With the Mighty Writers, an organization that hosts free after-school clinics aimed at teaching students how to better put pencil to paper, celebrating its 10th birthday in 2019, Whitaker wanted to acknowledge it on Twitter.
Instead, he received an account suspended message, which essentially vanished the Mighty Writers from the platform.
“I went to our profile and I said our birthday was coming up,” Whitaker said, “and we were going to be 10. The second I saved it, they sent me an email with a form attached to it that said you have to be over 13 to run a Twitter program so we’re shutting you down.”
Whitaker said he filled out the form for the account to be reinstated and provided his ID to prove his age three weeks ago. The executive director still hasn’t heard back from Twitter.
“Sometimes we act like 10 years olds,” Whitaker said, “We started a little campaign saying ‘Free Mighty Writers’ and ‘unlock us from your chains.’ All that kind of stuff so we’re trying to have fun with it.”
“But at the same time,” Whitaker added, “please open the damn thing.”
That was a good move, according to social media expert Annie Heckenberg.
“The more people who get behind it and perhaps tag Twitter in their own share of that problem,” Heckenberg said, “the quicker it may rise to the top.”
And the quicker the account’s 4,000 followers will be able to know what’s happening with these Mighty Writers.
“We have a lot of them that keep track of our Twitter feed,” Whitaker said, “and keep track of what we’re doing. If they see it closed, they could wonder, ‘Why are they closed? Is it hate speech? What’s the deal here?'”
CBS3 has reached out to Twitter via email and tweeting it directly but at the time of publication, there has been no response.