Twitter is awash with rubbish. Aside from annoying or uninteresting content, there is the intentionally bad: tweets that are deliberately abusive to other users. Such attacks are often coordinated, while the victims – who include a disproportionate number of women – are left to fend for themselves within Twitter’s largely unmoderated platform.

@BlockAllTwerps is a twitter bot that blocks everyone associated with tweets intended to incite harassment. The bot blocks a selected abusive tweet’s original writer, any retweeter(s), and all followers of the writer/retweeters’ accounts at the maximum speed allowed by the Twitter API.

Given that many abusive tweets are deliberately picked up and shared by hub accounts which effectively coordinate attacks and may have thousands of followers, it can take weeks to respond to an incident that might have unfolded in a single afternoon. One recent abusive tweet resulted in more than 50,000 accounts being blocked over a period of around two weeks.

The bot is intended to highlight to the impossibility for normal users to affectively respond to coordinated harassment attacks online. It is also intentionally wholly symbolic – it blocks user from seeing the bot’s feed itself instead of acting as a shield to a real person.

Tech Requirements

  • Electricity
  • Wired Ethernet
  • Use of usb keyboard and mouse during set-up
  • (Optional) white wall to project on to
  • (If no projection, then use of an HDMI or DVI monitor during set up)

Exhibition History

This has been shown at Art Meets Radical Openness, Linz, Austria, 2016