Monday, December 10, 2012

Twitter suspends pro-Catalan account: KeepCalmCat

Originally published in Vilaweb, on 10 December 2012

KeepCalmCat will create a new account if Twitter doesn't reestablish the old one

Organizers call for people to adopt the KeepCalmCat avatar for their own Twitter accounts

Yesterday evening, Twitter suspended the account with the lema "Keep Calm and Speak Catalan" created by Josep Maria Ganyet. It's hard to know exactly what the reason was, since Twitter almost never explains its motives. "At the best, they'll restore the account, and that'll be that," explained Ganyet, computer specialist and university professor on the radio station RAC1, who also said that if Twitter does not restore the account, he'll create a new one in a few days.

Ganyet hypothesized that the account had been closed because it had triggered Twitter's spam filters: "Twitter marks you as fraudulent almost automatically, and then it takes a few days for a real human to go and look at it." Yesterday, he said that Twitter's move might have been in response to some organized campaign to trash the initiative, deliberately and maliciously, and accuse it of being spam.

The reaction on social media was almost immediate, and the call went around to use the campaign's avatar—one of the most popular against the Wert law—for individuals' own accounts. "The level of support has been awesome, right from the moment that it was known that they had closed the account on us," says Ganyet, as demonstrated by the hundreds of Twitter and Facebook users who have adopted the logo for their profile image, and who have helped distribute the slogan, often accompanied by the hashtag #wertgonya [a play on words mixing the Spanish education minister's name, Wert, with the Catalan word for "shame", vergonya].

Ganyet adapted the classic "Keep Calm and Carry On" slogan, created in 1939 by the British Ministry of Information as an attempt to keep up morale among the population while the Nazi troops were threatening invasion, in the build up to World War II. But the invasion never materialized and most of the millions of posters that had been printed were destroyed, having never been used. This video explains the history of the slogan.

Ganyet has also created a website where the logo can be downloaded in various sizes and formats, both for use as a profile image as well as a background image or for any other use. In just a few days, the campaign had garnered the support of more than 3,500 followers, whose objective is to donate a portion of the proceeds to defend Catalan schooling.

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