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harassment twitter

Twitter teams up with Women, Action, and the Media to target online harassers

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Oh, Twitter, how I love you and hate you. On the one hand, Twitter can be a powerful grassroots organizing tool, a personalized media aggregator, a way to meet and interact with friends and colleagues, and of course one of the world’s most effective distributors of cute cat pics and fart jokes.

On the other, it can empower harassers — from individual stalkers to virtual mobs — and provide a way-too-easy way to send anonymous threats.

And unfortunately, Twitter hasn’t made much of an effort to deal with its abusive users. It can take days, weeks, sometimes months for the site’s harassment cops to do anything about persistent harassers, and all too often the suspended harassers pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and go right back to harassing their enemies with brand-new accounts — a blatant violation of Twitter’s rules that seems to be very seldom punished.

But there’s some good news on this front. Twitter is teaming up with Women, Action and the Media (WAM), a small feminist nonprofit, in a pilot program designed to fight this kind of harassment. WAM! has some experience here; this is the group that pressured Facebook into taking hate speech more seriously.

Those subjected to gendered harassment on Twitter can now report the harassment through WAM’s own form, designed to be more flexible and less cumbersome than Twitter’s balky harassment reporting system; WAM staffers will review the complaints and expedite them, enabling Twitter to deal with serious and persistent harassers much more quickly.  WAM staffers won’t be able to ban abusers directly, but they can essentially bump cases to the front of the line.

WAM will also be collecting data both on the harassment reports they get on their site and on Twitter’s handling of the cases WAM sends to them.

As the group explains

We’re using this pilot project to learn about what kind of gendered harassment is happening on Twitter, how that harassment intersects with other kinds of harassment (racist, transphobic, etc.), and which kinds of cases Twitter is prepared (and less prepared) to respond to. We’ll then work with Twitter to improve their responses to the harassment of women on their platform.

If you’re wondering why WAM is doing the gruntwork here, instead of Twitter itself, well, the WAMmers are wondering about that, too. While glad that Twitter has agreed to the project, WAM Executive Director Jaclyn Friedman told the Daily Beast that ” Twitter is making a lot of money and they should be putting the resources into this. We should not have to do this project … .”

Hopefully this project will mark the beginning of the end to Twitter’s culture of harassment-without-consequences.

WAM Twitter Harassment Reporting Tool

PewResearch Report on Online Harassment, Oct. 2014

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weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Ooh! Is Twitter about to finally fall to the evil feminist regime? I shall light a scented candle in celebration. Which scent should I burn? Male Tears? Or Essence of Sarkeesian?

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
6 years ago
andiexist
andiexist
6 years ago

Wow, GG’s going to throw a fit about this.

*grabs popcorn*

(Truth: I actually have popcorn right now.)

andiexist
andiexist
6 years ago

Huh, MRAs threw a fit first. And ninja’d. Ah well, at least I was partly right. :/

grumpyoldnurse
grumpyoldnurse
6 years ago

Double misandry points for me! I just asked Mr.Grump to make me some popcorn!

@WWTH – definitely Male Tears. It’s the best scent for misandric celebration.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Oh, MRA’s. “Those horrible feminists won’t let me send women death threats on Twitter, baw, this is a great cosmic injustice.”

Ira Shantz-Kreutzkamp
Ira Shantz-Kreutzkamp
6 years ago

Mr. Futrelle(kickass name by the way), I’m unsure about this sentence:

“Twitter is teaming up with Women, Action and the Media (WAM), a small feminist nonprofit that, in a pilot program designed to fight this kind of harassment.”

Could just be my eyes and/or reading comprehension not being up to the job, but that doesn’t feel complete. Is that the case, or am I off-base?

Hope this place runs low on material someday.

magnesium
6 years ago

Speaking of harassment, Harassment Brigade GamerGate has two new targets. Elizabeth Simims and a young woman who mods a WoW forum, but isn’t actually responsible for the thing they’re mad about because GamerGate are not the brightest folk. https://twitter.com/untimelygamer/status/531605523788222464

sylviaplant
sylviaplant
6 years ago

@magnesium

Well, she is a woman, after all. And as we know, being a card carrying woman is synonymous with being a part of the Secret Unethical Lizard Journalist Illuminati. We even get fun hat. Err I mean. I haven’t heard a thing about it.

C.S.Strowbridge
C.S.Strowbridge
6 years ago

Good news. Anything that reduces harassment is a positive in my mind.

andiexist
andiexist
6 years ago

Yes! Set the crying candles burning!

It seems the Political Corrections Bureau has claimed another website…

Bwa-ha-ha! 😉

seraph4377
6 years ago

andiexist – it was pointed out to me yesterday, I forget by whom, that GG has essentially become the gaming branch of the MRA, so you can count yourself as entirely right if you want to.

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

Ira Shantz-Kreutzkamp

Hi and welcome!

You’re right, it’s “that” throwing the sentence out. It should read “Twitter is teaming up with Women, Action and the Media (WAM), a small feminist nonprofit, in a pilot program designed to fight this kind of harassment.”

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

@magnesium
censorship on the wow forums sounds AWESOME. In fact I was just talking to my bf last night about how there needs to be way more moderation in-game. He told me that it’s something Blizz really wants to do but there is just SO MUCH especially shut down spam, so they are working on new tools to make it doable.

I reckon if they come down hard on it, handing out bans like candy, they could quickly get it down to manageable levels as the jerks either leave or learn that wow is not 4chan.

Manastu Utakata
6 years ago

@magnesium
Which is kinda silly because all mods go by the written community standards over there, which players agree to sign to whenever posting over there. If these nutters want to go after anyone, they should be going after Blizz themselves for this.

Though it shouldn’t be surprising I guess, as they seem to be targeting anyone female that they disagree with. Of coarse, they wouldn’t dare call it censorship by focused harassment. How convenient.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Trolls call it censorship; I call it idiot management. And it’s about time the tweeter got some.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

And, sorry if this is OT on this thread, but here’s a petition to sign to keep Julien “Head. On dick” Blanc out of Canada. He has apparently been here before, and we don’t want him back.

Merus
Merus
6 years ago

“If you’re wondering why WAM is doing the gruntwork here, instead of Twitter itself, well, the WAMmers are wondering about that, too.”

I wasn’t wondering that at all. Harassment is ideal for Twitter’s metrics: they’re engaged users who see a lot of ads. If Twitter starts banning harassers, not only does it affect their bottom line, it also affects their free-speech-at-any-cost-marketplace-of-ideas strategy they’ve had going, despite the idea that the truth wins out over exciting lies being easily disproved by opening literally any news site.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

Hi Ira. Others embed the welcome package but I suck. Have a welcome package!

https://artistryforfeminismandkittens.wordpress.com/the-official-man-boobz-complimentary-welcome-package/

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

Imagine Dickie Dawkins’ ragesplosion if Twitter ever clamped down on misogynistic fuckwads. There would not be enough popcorn in the world for that show.

strivingally
6 years ago

@magnesium:

They’re going after the mod of a WoW forum because Blizz came out against GamerGate at Blizzcon, and it’s taken them this long to find a way to direct that gamebrorage into an avenue that 1) they can somehow tenuously connect to “censorship” and 2) means they get to blame a woman.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

U GUIZE U GUIZE U GUIZE! Maybe the MRA’s were right!

http://www.robot-hugs.com/separation/

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

Needs more cats.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

Huh…my thought was it needed more neutering.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

@strivingally

We watched some of Blizzcon over the weekend, but I didn’t see them take a stand against gamergate. It’s nice to know they did. 🙂

Puddleglum
6 years ago

Aaaand, Shaun wins more internetz!

tesformes
6 years ago

I feel like, in addition to a robust anti-harassment system, we need a campaign to identify people who are being persistently harassed and flood their Twitter feeds with cat pictures and videos of babies trying lemons for the first time. If we turn the harassment around into mockery of the people doing the harassment and support for the victim, I think it might dull the attraction. At least the show of support will help the people being harassed.

On the other hand, it might be kinda annoying to have your feed flooded with anything, even cat pictures. I’d settle for just a robust anti-harassment system.

Ira Shantz-Kreutzkamp
Ira Shantz-Kreutzkamp
6 years ago

@Shaun DarthBatman Day

Thank you! An unexpected yet much appreciated little present. Even if unembedded.

@Mr. Futrelle

Ah, glad that wasn’t just my eyes playing tricks. Glad to be of use.

One thing I’ve started to wonder, given the mutability of text on the internet, is how that’s going to affect its history. Considering that, hypothetically speaking, somebody could erase or change massive swathes of the information it houses, is there a danger of full-on revisionist history? Not like deleting tweets, as in altering record that’ve got real weight and importance behind them.

Orion
6 years ago

It’s a problem, but in many cases there are third-party archives. The “internet wayback machine” can find a lot of stuff people have tried to get rid of.

tesformes
6 years ago

Wow, this is a couple of months old, but have you guys seen this?

http://tmblr.co/ZuyAru1QbtBey

The kinds of people AVFM decides to support with it’s money and “activism” are the kind of people I wouldn’t want in a social justice movement.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

Puddleglum, thanks! I shall paint this one purple with shiny silver glitter!
Ira, I made none of it but I am more than happy to take much credit because reasons. I think in honour of “Facts are misandry” we should add a set of Encyclopedias, possibly ‘Encyclopaedia Kittanica’, though, so maybe…

tesformes *drops jaw, cries, beats head against shiny new internetz until fresh paint all comes off* I don’t know why that shocked me. I got nothin’.

Annie Squidface
6 years ago

@strivingally

At first I lol’d at the irony of a bunch of misogynistic losers going after a WoW employee, because WoW, but then I remembered my own experience with the game. It was a long ass time ago but compared to other online games, it felt like a much more inclusive environment. Maybe because of how common it was for people to prefer toons of the opposite gender.

Things could have changed since then and everyone’s mileage varies, but idk. Feels like going after Blizzard (WoW especially) will go very, very poorly for GG.

littlefish
littlefish
6 years ago

Well… at least something is being done about harassment on twitter….?

I checked on the gg hashtag… I regret doing that (and yet keep returning). There was so much projection I thought I was in a movie theater…
Things I gleaned:
●Eron Gjoni is openly begging for money on twitter so he can try to over turn the gag order he’s been violating.
●Roosh quoted one of his fan boys saying he’ll never go to blizzcon again, linking to a forum thread of guys whining about how blizzard’s new game isn’t catering to there every desire. (http://www.donotlink.com/cf8v)
(11th comment is the specific one roosh linked, if you’re interested)
●evidently gg convinced igfnews to remove someone from judging games for igf because she made a misandrist tweet and sexism against men is a big deal y’all.
●this post about the WoWhead moderator being harassed and the responses of ggers that still think that the ceo of blizzard didn’t mean gg during the opening ceremony (lol) and that she deserves to be harassed (assholes)
https://twitter.com/doctorow/status/531455721150627840?s=09

I say if these shit heels leave WoW, good fucking riddance. I watched the opening ceremony of blizzcon, and like many non-gamergoobers, I am pretty sure the CEO meant gg and not anyone else. I saw somewhere* that it probably because gg started an email campaign to get bliz to stop advertising on Polygon… that and a sizable number of WoW players are women. The top estimate of ggers is 10k and that is by gg. WoW has millions of players sooo….

*http://www.zenofdesign.com/gamergates-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-week/

saphy
saphy
6 years ago

Will this mean the end of camera lady?

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

@Annie, WoW was much more inclusive back 2004/2005/2005. I played with entire families (mum, dad, kids, made getting a dungeon party really easy!), and people with various problems who were normally left out of social groups (e.g. at university) but felt that playing a game well where no-one could see them gave them a community in which people cared about them. And we would have fun together, and talk to each other over Ventrilo, and life was good.

And then, Blizzard started implementing changes into the game which meant that the actions players could do to enforce social norms (e.g. by telling people that X was a loot ninja, and X’s name would be repeatedly mentioned) were removed, so that players who were horrible to others suffered no negative consequences. Then linking up the various chat areas so that I had to turn off general chat altogether because of all the bigoted shite that would get mentioned, and then that shifted into trade as well, so I would only have trade on if I needed it, the putting together people into PUGs from servers with entirely different social norms (e.g. partnering PVP realm players with RPG players like me) so there was hooligan behaviour in PUG dungeons, it all ruined the game for me.

Most people I knew quit ahead of me. I lasted through a few months of Cataclysm, and then couldn’t take it anymore. Pretty much my playing had deteriorated to one raid a week, maybe a couple of dungeons, dailies for reputation grind, trying to get Darkmoon Faire rep up as the last rep I needed for an achievement, and playing the Auction House. It felt like work, except too many other people (not guildies) were abusive, and I wasn’t being paid – but was forking out for two accounts (I always have oodles of alts) so I was paying for the priviledge of not-fun.

Every so often I get the emails from Blizzard asking me back. I got Diablo 3 and didn’t like it very much – I way prefer Torchlight and Torchlight II – and can’t see that I would ever play another Blizzard MMO game.

I’m really enjoying Guild Wars 2 – but that game rewards cooperative behaviour. Strangely enough, what that means is that most players are nice to each other. It is a completely different social feel to what WoW had become. And there’s no monthly charges, updates are dl content for free – no $$$ needed for expansions.

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
6 years ago

If they’re going after Blizzcon (in the most roundabout, blame-a-woman way possible) for coming out against them, does this mean that they’ll be going after PAX as well?

(Hint for the #Gits: When PAX is against you – the PAX started by a couple of admitted sexists with a “Diversity Lounge” where women gamers can escape the harassment that’s guaranteed anywhere else at the con – that’s not a good sign.)

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Why don’t the GGers just shut up and play games? 🙂

littlekatze
6 years ago

Oh, that’s clever. Twitter gets to keep all the nice clicks from all the nice hatemongers and WAM does all the moderation for them. It’s perfect really. Not only does it save Twitter the money of a decent anti-harassment system (which, let’s face it, would normally require effort and/or money on their part), it’s also a get out of blame free card! Fantastic! Now, if all the harassers come knocking and say “Dear Twitter people, your shameful actions are ruining our freeze peach moment. Stop pleez.” Twitter can say “Sorry you guys, take it up with them feminists!”. And everyone else has to stop complaining because, well, at least they’re doing something .

I’m not saying I’m against this, not at all. Ban all the harassers, as fast as possible, please. I’m just saying having an NPO do your mod work for you is a very cheap thing to do for a company with Twitter’s resources.
Are WAM even getting payed for this?

It feels like Twitter is that one kid at daycare who whines about how hard their homework is until the teacher does it for them.

Gallogly
6 years ago

I’m not sure describing the Penny Arcade guys as ‘a couple of admitted sexists’ is altogether fair to them. Jerry Holkins in particular engages quite often and interestingly with issues of gender, and reads feminist websites (there’s a podcast where Mike makes fun of him for reading feministing, and Jerry tells him he’s just being ridiculous). If he describes himself as a sexist, I’m pretty sure it’s to acknowledge male privilege, not to glorify sexism.

And I know people always bring up the Dickwolves controversy and Mike Krahulik’s transphobia, and both those things were horrible and outrageous, but in both cases, they took the time understand, make what amends they could, and to learn and develop from their mistakes. Meaningfully, I mean. I going to quote some extracts from Krahulik’s New Year’s Resolution post this year, but the I recommend reading the whole thing.

We are all products of our childhood and what came out of mine was an unrepentant asshole. This person wasn’t a great fit for the handful of retail jobs I bounced between. I’m not what you would call a “people person”. It was a good fit for making comic strips though. In 1998 I finally discovered an outlet for the the horrible skills I had. My disgusting sense of humor helped to create Penny Arcade and grow it to what it has become today. The same things about me that I used to think were an asset, something good that I brought to the mix have become a liability though. It’s a strange position to be in and I’ve spent a lot of time this year reflecting on it. The person I am isn’t good for PA anymore and in fact who I am and the way I behave has caused real damage to it. So this person isn’t good for PA but I’m not sure it’s good for me either.

So what am I? As a young person I imagined myself a sort of vengeful spirit. A schoolyard Robin Hood who attacked the strong and popular on behalf of the social outcasts. I’m 36 years old now though and I realize what I am is a bully. I may have been the one who got beat up but I sent plenty of kids home in tears. I also realize that I carried those ridiculous insecurities into adulthood. I still see people who attack me as the enemy and I strike back with the same ferocity as that seventh grader I used to be. I’m ashamed of that and embarrassed. The crazy thing is I don’t even necessarily believe the stuff I say a lot of times. It would probably be more noble if I did. The truth is I just say them to be mean. I say them because I know they will hurt. It’s pretty fucked up.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching this year. I’ve tried to figure out what sort of person I am and what sort of person I want to be going forward. I know I don’t want to be this angry kid anymore. I take medicine to control my anxiety and depression but there is no pill I can take to stop being a jerk. That’s a deeper problem and it’s something I’m working on. I love the gaming community. I’ve dedicated the last fifteen years of my life to it.

[…]

I’ve seen some articles about the roll for diversity stuff happening at PAX and I respect that some people are hesitant to jump on board or see it as a stunt of some kind. I can tell you in all honesty that it springs from a desire on our part to do better and be better. Is there more we can do? Well to be fair we haven’t even done this yet. I’m sure it will need tuning and adjusting but every tweak and change will be done with the goal of making PAX a better show for everyone.

I’ve learned a ridiculous amount this year. About myself and about other people. It’s been a difficult year, probably the hardest in my life and I realize I brought most of it on myself. That’s a sobering realization. I also realize that I’ve made it harder for the people I care about, my friends and my family. I can’t be this guy anymore. I have every intention of taking the things I’ve learned this year to heart and changing. I’ve said I’m sorry for the things I’ve said but I’ve never apologized for who I am. I need to separate the busted kid from the man I am now. I guess that’s my new years resolution. Might be harder than losing ten pounds.

One of the WHTM post I remember particularly well is the one where Kickstarter apologised for hosting a fundraiser for a PUA manual, and announced that they wouldn’t host any PUA material anymore. David quoted it at length, and then said, ‘now, that’s how you make an apology’. I feel the same about Krahulik’s New Year’s resolution: it doesn’t make it okay that he did the terrible things, but it certainly begins to make meaningful amends for them.

Kagato
Kagato
6 years ago

They’re going after the mod of a WoW forum because Blizz came out against GamerGate at Blizzcon

No, see, it’s even “better” than that.
@ashelia is a mod on the wowhead forums. They apparently went after her for a post that was deleted from the Battle.net WoW forums. Despite her having no affiliation with Blizzard or Battle.net whatsoever.

tinyorc
6 years ago

Her mentions are now full of GGers being like ”Sorry this happened to you, NO TRUE GGER etc

tinyorc
6 years ago

Oops, posted before I was finished. Yes, basically they’re now trying to say that GG doesn’t condone harassing random women because NO TRUE GGER, despite that @theralphretort is one of the closest things GG has to a leader. He also deleted his original tweet with no acknowledgement of his mistake and no apology. Such ethics. Wow.

Kootiepatra
Kootiepatra
6 years ago

Any time I see someone whining about a moderator “censoring” them, my eyes come close to rolling out of my head.

Firstly, dude, not your forum. You have no inalienable right to post there. The most power-hungry, micromanaging, controlling moderator on earth does not have the power to censor you. You could go make your own, better, super cool forums, and they can’t stop you. They can, however, delete your stuff off of their forums for any reason they like, because they stared it, or were at least recruited to manage it.

Secondly, I used to moderate an online game server and its connected community forums. Every single complaint I got about censorship — without fail — came from insufferable trolls. We had regulars disagree with us and argue with some of our calls, but they always understood that muting/banning toxic content was part of our job. A cry of “censorship” always came from someone who had A) Not read and/or had disregarded the community standards, which were pinned at the top of every single thread, B) Ignored or argued with direct warnings from mods, and C) Was now desperately trying to weasel their way out of a permanent ban. Yes, dear troll, I know that “censorship” is a big, scary, legal-sounding word, but it’s also a super clear red flag that you are being a disingenous turdwaffle.

But beyond this, I read @Kagato’s comment, and holy poop. Could it get any clearer that they’re really only concerned with attacking women? “A TOTALLY DIFFERENT FORUM THAN YOURS CENSORED ME. NOW YOU WILL PAY.” How did they even pretend like they could connect her to the Battle.net stuff?

Kootiepatra
Kootiepatra
6 years ago

Curse my retrospective proofreading skills. “Stared” should be “started” in my last post.

vaiyt
6 years ago

●Roosh quoted one of his fan boys saying he’ll never go to blizzcon again, linking to a forum thread of guys whining about how blizzard’s new game isn’t catering to there every desire.

That’s a win for Blizzcon.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
6 years ago

we need a campaign to identify people who are being persistently harassed and flood their Twitter feeds with cat pictures and videos of babies trying lemons for the first time.

No, I think that sounds too much like invading someone’s personal space with a bunch of spam, even if it’s well-intentioned. Don’t forget, Twitter is not a recreational space for most of the women who have been harassed – it’s where they promote their business and form professional networks, or engage in activist discussions with other users.

You could tweet support – or better yet, signal-boost their relevant posts. But don’t “flood” their feeds, that’ll just result in the same kind of problem as the flooding of hatemail.

littlefish
littlefish
6 years ago

That’s a win for Blizzcon.

My thoughts too. They can and will easily find someone else who wants that ticket. We’re talking about an event with tickets that always sell out, so one or two whining asshole is no skin off Blizzard’s back. Plus it probably makes the experience for others better.

It might be slightly more pleasant in WoW if gg boycotts blizzard. One only can hope….

daintydougal
daintydougal
6 years ago

If the bros want vidya full of masculine men and sexy ladies why don’t they just go out there and make their own?

*tumble weed*