YouTube and Twitch streamer SushiLuLu (also known as Stephanie Greene) was forced to delete tweets critical of Randi Harper in order to have her Twitter account reactivated. Randi Harper has demonstrated her unusual control over Twitter support before, and it turns out that Randi Harper and Del Harvey, Vice President of Trust and Safety at Twitter, are connected.
SushiLuLu’s Celebrity Debut
Even if you don’t know who SushiLuLu is already, it’s fair to say you have seen her work before. SushiLuLu’s work was featured in the ABC Nightline feature against GamerGate, a video which has since gone on to become one of the most disliked videos in the history of YouTube (47k dislikes vs. 1400 likes as of this writing). If you haven’t yet seen the footage, I’ve queued up the use of SushiLuLu’s content in the embedded video below. She’s the female streamer being “harassed.”
SushiLuLu wasn’t too happy about her content being used for ABC’s GamerGate hit piece, and clarified in her piece on Ship2Block20:
The piece was spun to make it look as if I was playing CS:GO and was harassed by people associated with GamerGate. Since then I’ve worked to reveal that that wasn’t at all the case; the video showed me being harassed while playing in a casual server that had nothing to do with GamerGate.
She has since become vocal against anti-GamerGate personalities such as Randi Harper, proprietor of the GGAutoBlocker, which labels prominent GamerGate voices such as Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos as “shitlords” and their followers as “sheeple.” SushiLuLu even went so far as to write a three-part series solely on Randi Harper, focusing on the irony of someone who regularly flames her opponents (particularly Chris von Csefalvay, who did the statistical analysis on GamerGate) on Twitter having the gall to start the Online Abuse Prevention Initiative
Unfortunately, on the night of March 17th, SushiLuLu found out that Randi Harper has powerful friends.
Actually, It’s About Nepotism At Twitter
Randi Harper has proven her unusual ability to influence Twitter Support in the past. She even got caught bragging about helping her BFF Leigh Alexander in chat logs some diligent vigilante had the good sense to screenshot:
While that seems like something that could be accomplished with a simple e-mail to support, what happened to SushiLuLu after this was a more explicit display of her influence within Twitter.
It appears on the night on March 17th, SushiLulu’s account became locked, and when she attempted to deactivate it, she was told to delete five tweets which were negative toward Randi Harper.
As you can see, most of this was directed at alerting veteran developer Mark Kern (@Grummz) to what Randi was up to. For those of you who don’t remember, Mark Kern (team lead on games you may have heard of, like Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft) recently called for Kotaku and Polygon to heal the rift they created by pushing a negative narrative about gamers. While that suggestion was immediately rebuffed by less moderate anti-GamerGate voices such as Ben Kuchera, Mr. Kern continues to vouch for GamerGate.
The real question here, though, is how Randi Harper could influence the Twitter suspension (and conditional reactivation) of a third-party’s account. That kind of blatant display of corruption demonstrates that Randi is unafraid that people will discover her connection within Twitter: maybe it’s someone pretty high up?
Meet Del Harvey
Even before her hiring at Twitter, Del Harvey (also known as Alison Shea) was an activist on the Internet. You may remember a site called Perverted Justice, which used dubious methods to ensnare would-be pedophiles on internet chat rooms. For this, Del Harvey (along with other prominent members of the website) were compensated handsomely, to the tune of $120,000 a pop. After this and a turn portraying underage girls (and sometimes boys) on NBC’s To Catch a Predator, she joined Twitter in 2008, and now is the arbiter of what you can and cannot say on a site that records upwards of half-a-billion 140-character missives per day.
Unsurprisingly for an employee of a San Francisco-based company, most of the people she follows are progressively inclined. Multiple Obama for America members. Multiple members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Plenty of “Internet Safety” advocates: somehow I’ve been using the internet for decades without injury, but I’m sure they helped somehow. Oh, and one Randi Harper. They follow each other.
Randi is actually rather unaccomplished compared to most of Del Harvey’s contacts, all of whom seem to be pretty heavy hitters among the progressive San Francisco scene. Most are board members, politically active, or have their own real organizations (unlike the Online Abuse Prevention Initiative, which mostly exists in Randi’s mind and hasn’t even been granted non-profit status yet). What Randi did to ingratiate herself with Del Harvey is unknown, but the fruit of that connection is very visible.
Even Online Power Corrupts
Randi is content to use her power over Twitter to spring her friends and suspend her enemies, all the while bragging she has done so. Now she has Twitter forcing people to delete their critical tweets. What’s next? Are we to see accounts permanently banned for disagreeing with Her Royal Highness Sektie? Even on a site that claims “freedom of expression is essential?”
Where once Twitter was a bastion of free speech, GamerGate has seen RogueStar’s Slade Villena blocked time after time for practicing that freedom of expression. Now we’re into deleting undesirable tweets. With Randi and Del calling the shots on what can and can’t be said on Twitter, don’t expect freedom of expression for GamerGate.