Is Elon Musk’s Twitter Kink-Shaming the Kinks?
Elon Musk’s Twitter continues to function about as well as a Tesla in self-driving mode, with Dave Davies and the Kinks bearing the brunt of the platform’s latest hiccups: Last night, Davies complained that Twitter kept placing sensitive content warnings on all of his tweets about the Kinks, ostensibly because the band name was being confused with, well, sexual kinks.
“Dear @elonmusk would @Twitter please stop putting warnings on everything from ‘the Kinks,’” Davies wrote. “We are just trying to promote our Kinks music @TheKinks #thekinks60.” Accompanying the post was a screen grab of Davies linking to a Kinks video on TikTok, which featured the message, “We put a warning on this Tweet because it might have sensitive content.”
In case Musk and Twitter needed a little extra context and history, Davies added, “The Kinks are a brand name. We have been called the Kinks since 1963.”
Davies briefly hopped on the phone with Rolling Stone to discuss the situation, noting the warnings aren’t a totally new phenomenon. “It’s been going on for quite a while,” he said. “It’s been a good few months… I don’t know what’s going on, if they’ve got a block on my name, or the Kinks’ name, we don’t know. I wish I had better answers.”
Acknowledging the likelihood that Kinks posts were being flagged because the band’s name was being confused with sexual kinks, Davies added, “The thing is, where’s it gonna end? There’s so many different words and phrases — people from Liverpool have slightly different meanings for words than people from London. It’s the same all over the world.”
Davies said his efforts to get the problem sorted with Twitter haven’t gotten very far, and he wasn’t sure if his direct plea to Musk and Twitter would help him make any headway either. “It’s not him that’s doing it,” Davies said of Musk. “I’m sure he’s a very interesting man It’s the AI thing that I’m a bit concerned about.”
He added, “We’re just promoting the Kinks’ music, my music, my book, and we want to be able to do what we do. It’s that simple.”
As of publication, it appears that links to a couple of videos shared by the Kinks are still hidden with sensitive content warnings; however, it should be noted that they are only hidden if users uncheck the box in their settings that reads, “Display media that may contain sensitive content.”
It does appear that Davies isn’t the only person on Twitter battling arbitrary, superfluous, or arguably puritanical sensitive content warnings. For instance, popular fashion bloggers Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez recently complained that many of their tweets about New York Fashion Week were being flagged. A quick scroll through their feed revealed hidden links about Quinta Brunson’s various looks and the Thom Browne Fall 2023 collection.
More in line with the Kinks’ situation, the sensitive content system appears to be targeting media that’s even vaguely sexual in nature, such as a Buzzfeed story published yesterday about the Guinness Book of World Records declining to recognize the world’s largest dick pic. (Again, these links are only hidden if you uncheck that box in your settings.)
Hopefully, Twitter can start sorting this issue out if all its engineers are done making sure Musk’s tweets get as much engagement as he needs to fill the gaping hole in his soul. Or we’ll just have to wait until a new CEO’s in place — maybe.