Butthurt Twitter Blocks Checkpoint Asia’s $5 Ad Campaign

Can't say unflattering things about the US military and have Twitter take your fiver

Well there you go. Turns out Checkpoint Asia isn’t quite good enough for the bastion of high prose and insightful information that is the world’s social media platform with the most pointless chaff. (No, not every 140-characters thought you have is worth sharing with the world).

Twitter has informed me our latest post — a link to the article Used to Decimating Afghan Shepherds With Daisy Cutters, US Army Can’t Handle a Fair Fight in Niger can not be used in a Twitter ad campaign, because it does not meet Twitter’s quality criteria.

That’s really interesting. The article is based almost completely on a report by the US corporate Foreign Policy magazine, which it quotes extensively. That report is in turn based on interviews FP held with US officials and special forces soldiers. It is replete with statements such as:

It has been a steep learning curve.

“So we’re lured into this complacency, and now you’re lured into this situation on the ground in Africa where there was parity, or even a disadvantage, and we got smoked for it.”

A former 3rd Group officer with extensive Afghanistan experience said for special operators who have spent their entire military career fighting in Afghanistan, the adjustment to Africa can be jarring.

The content is not in any doubt. The Americans themselves say the battlefields in Afghanistan and in Niger are worlds apart, and this has been a major challenge for American commandos who suddenly — for the first time in their careers — have to deal with an even fight.

If not the text, then maybe it was the lively headline that Twitter’s “quality control” department had a problem with? The headline is lively (and effective) but it is also truthful. The Taliban are a rural-based guerrilla movement. There are plenty of shepherds in their ranks. In fact, almost every Afghan boy will have done tons of shepherding as a teen.

Moreover, there is little doubt there would have been at least some shepherds among the many civilians Americans slay there each year.

Finally, is it not true that Afghans, whether Taliban or civilians, are largely killed by Americans by bombs? (Poetically styled “daisy cutters” in the headline.) Or if not by bombs, then certainly by aerial attack, whether by bomb, missile or gun.

Frankly, I don’t think the issue with our post was quality but butthurt. Twitter is an American company and so are its censors. And the US military is an object of great reverence in the US civic religion. In place of praying, or going to confession Americans will  “thank a veteran” and “support the troops”.

The irreverence Checkpoint Asia shows to their military must have simply been too much for the overweight neckbeard who blocked our ad campaign on supposed “quality” grounds.

Americans at a religious event

Though blocked is really a too-strong a word to use. You see, Checkpoint Asia’s ad campaign was so modest, that by the time Twitter decided it could not go on, its entire 5 dollar budget had already been spent.

The performance of that campaign?

It netted the site 63 new followers, at the average cost of 8 cents per follower.

It scored an amazing 7.31% follow rate. (Twitter only needed to show the ad to 862 people for 63 of them to follow Checkpoint Asia.)

Clearly the public, the actual users of Twitter, did not think the post was crap. To the contrary, the post was doing incredibly well.

Actually, the real outrage here are Twitter’s money-grubbing ways. With such a high engagement rate, there is no excuse for Twitter to gobble up the entire 5 dollars after just 862 impressions. Those 63 new followers should have been even cheaper considering how little advertising it took to get them.