It feels like a very long time ago that I wrote the post Google’s Mechanical Prude, documenting how Google’s then-new autocomplete search-suggestion feature ignored your settings (if you had asked Google not to impose its censorious “Safe Search” on your search results) and used a bunch of stop words to avoid suggestion porn, nudity, or popular adult performers. It feels like a very long time ago because it was eleven years ago, in 2008. Of course, Google never backed down from that then-cutting-edge bit of search-invisibility engineering. One ludicrous example I documented back in 2008 was that Google autocomplete refused to comprehend or to admit that searching for “Jenna Jameson nude” was a thing that people might want to do. And today, in 2019, Google is still sticking to those ancient prudish guns:

Google search autocomplete screenshot still refusing to admit that Jenna Jameson was ever nude

That investigation was perhaps the genesis for my hatred and horror of search invisibility as a #pornocalypse tactic. It feels totalitarian and epistemologically violent to me. People search for a thing. The robot assistants who operate so smoothly we barely notice them: those helpful bastards blandly pretend that the thing we want doesn’t exist and never existed. It’s insidious, it’s dangerous, and it’s intolerable. It’s also unaccountable, and we have no real way to protest or demand better searches.

Today’s post, however, is not about Google. It’s about Twitter. Search invisibility on Twitter is hardly a new thing, to be sure. It’s been a sometimes “feature” of the poorly-understood shadow bans that have plagued adult performers and sex bloggers on Twitter for years, though denied by Twitter until the recent release of their new 2020 terms of service incorporating shadowbanning as normal practice. Yesterday, however, I discovered a new-to-me type of search invisibility on Twitter. (I say “new to me” because some accounts of shadow banning had previously reported this dysfunctionality, but I never saw it when I myself was shadowbanned.) Specifically, the autocomplete search function that we all rely upon when we are trying to “at” somebody appears to have some disfavored Twitter users whose user IDs are not autocompleted. My discovery exemplar, surprise surprise, is an adult (porn) megastar with 172,000 followers. Gee, I wonder why she’s been invisibilized? I don’t know … but there’s a pornocalypse stench to it, don’t you think?

Here are my receipts.

Yesterday, I went to tweet about a lighthearted Christmas femdom shoot featuring Syren De Mer taking extreme liberties with a hapless Santa. I knew she was on Twitter but I didn’t know her username, so I just dove in with my “at” symbol and the first three letters of her name:

10 results, no syren

At this point there are ten results in the drop-down autosuggest box, although we only see five (without scrolling) in the screenshot. None of them are for Syren. Not really a surprise; we are only three letters in. Moving on.

And on and on and on… By the time I get all the way out to “@SyrenDeM” we are down to just two suggestions:

2 results, no syren

That second result looks like a possible hit; it’s @SyrenDeMerX. But no; if you look at the account profile, it’s a low-activity fake or tribute account, dating to 2014-2015 exclusively, consisting mostly of porn retweets. Let’s keep typing:

No syren

Now we see the violence inherent in the system! Her true Twitter handle is @SyrenDemerXXX, which is a 10-years-old but still-currently-active account with her OnlyFans and her agency booking info in her profile. But when we type it all the way out to one letter short of the full user ID, Twitter is still stalwartly maintaining that it has never heard of her. @SyrenDeMerXXX? Who dat?

If this is a “regular” shadowbanning “feature” that Syren is currently suffering under, the behavior might be gone by the time you attempt to confirm or replicate it. Shadowbans are notoriously fickle; they come and they go. Or maybe she’s on some hitherto undiscovered permanent pornocalypse Twitter username blacklist aimed at adult performers. Does it really matter? This is a woman with 172,000 followers on Twitter, suggesting that she’s somebody that a lot of people want to hear from. But if you try to type her Twitter username, Twitter does its best to pretend that she doesn’t exist. The reason doesn’t really matter; the result is fucking shameful.

By the way, in case you were wondering, Syren De Mer is not just blacklisted in Twitter’s user search engine. She’s also on Google’s autocomplete search-suggest blacklist, just like Violet Blue was when I wrote Pornocalypse Comes For Your Keyword Searches back in 2015. Violet now appears to have escaped from Google jail, but Syren is very much in it, even when I’m logged into my Google Account with so-called “Safe Search” turned off:

Google refusing to suggest Syren De Mer in autocomplete search suggestions

This is a woman, mind you, with 12.7 million search results currently in the Google web database:

more than twelve million search results for Syren De Mer

If that doesn’t make you wonder what else Google and Twitter refuse to show you when you search for it, you’re not a very curious person. And if having to wonder about it doesn’t horrify or concern you, I truly worry about your capacity for imagination, empathy, and self-preservation in the information age.

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