In a now-deleted tweet, a friend recently remarked on how she was seeing TikTok users say “shreks work” as a replacement phrase for “sex work” that wouldn’t get the video censored. In this context, “censored” means not necessarily deletion, but the punitive kind of shadow-banning that will ensure the video doesn’t get uplifted by the algorithm into the For You pages of other users. 

When I replied expressing interest in this phenomenon, I was linked by internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch to an article she’d written in 2018  about “Voldemorting,” a term coined by scholar Emily van der Nagel to describe the resistant practice of censoring out or coining new names or phrases on social media to avoid algorithmic discovery.

The truth behind Finland's "catgirl" prime minster
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