Mary McIntyre was locked out of her Twitter account for three months after she posted a video of a meteor passing through.
The Elon Musk era on Twitter has been a rollercoaster ride. From employee layoffs to banning accounts that were impersonating Musk himself and other famous personalities, chaos has become the new normalcy at the microblogging social media platform. But even before Musk took over, Twitter had its fair share of account handling mismanagement. Recently, one of the biggest cases of wrongful banning of an account was seen for Mary McIntyre, a British astronomer. Roughly three months ago, one of her tweets was flagged for ‘intimate content’, a warning usually reserved for pornographic or sexually inappropriate content. But what she shared was a video of a meteor passing through.
McIntyre, who is based out of Oxfordshire in England, shared a video in August that showed a meteor from the Perseid meteor shower moving through the night sky. She even 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, she was flagged by Twitter 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 outlets including BBC came out in her support, her account has finally been reinstated.
Astronomer’s account reinstated after wrongful ban
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 :-)”.
McIntyre initially received a 12-hour ban with a condition that she deletes her tweet and agrees to posting intimate content and violating the guidelines. However, she refused to do that. “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 BBC.
And after her reinstatement, she stands vindicated. And that tweet continues to exist in her profile, and it still does not 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.