Categories
harassment hate speech misogyny TROOOLLLL!! twitter

Twitter CEO on trolls and abusers: "We're going to start kicking these people off right and left."

A sad day for trolls.
A sad day for trolls.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has frankly admitted that his company has done a terrible job of dealing with trolls and abusers. And he’s promised to do better, declaring that Twitter would “start kicking these people off right and left.”

In a remarkably candid note to concerned staffers, obtained and posted online by The Verge, Costolo was blunt about Twitter’s failure to protect its users from harassers:

We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years. It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.

He’s got that right.

Costolo went on to accept personal responsibility for this failure:

I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It’s absurd. There’s no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing.

And he pledged to go after the harassers much more aggressively:

 We’re going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.

In a followup note, he again took personal responsibility for the problem, and assured staffers that his promise to boot the trolls and harassers would be more than an empty declaration:

[T]he truth that everybody in the world knows is that we have not effectively dealt with this problem even remotely to the degree we should have by now, and that’s on me and nobody else. So now we’re going to fix it, and I’m going to take full responsibility for making sure that the people working night and day on this have the resources they need to address the issue, that there are clear lines of responsibility and accountability, and that we don’t equivocate in our decisions and choices.

Let’s hope he lives up to this promise. Facebook made a similar promise to crack down on hate speech in 2013, but hateful sexist and racist material is still posted regularly on that platform with no repercussions.

And everyone who has tried to report harassment and abuse on Twitter knows how hard it is to get Twitter to taken any actions against harassers. And even when harassers’ accounts are banned, the bans are often temporary, while those who are permabanned can simply start up new accounts to continue their harassment and abuse.

Costolo’s notes came in response to a discussion on an internal message board about feminist writer Lindy West’s recent Guardian article and This American Life segment dealing with the harassment she’s gotten on Twitter. Costolo made clear that he’s acutely aware of the media coverage and criticism of Twitter’s lackluster attempts to deal with the trolls who so often turn Twitter into a kind of “hate amplifier.”

In other words, Twitter is responding to this problem because the targets of Twitter harassment and abuse are talking about their experiences publicly.

The “don’t feed the trolls” approach that is so often advocated by those who try to minimize and/or excuse the harassment does not in fact work; indeed, “not feeding” trolls encourages them, by making clear they will face no repercussions for their abusive behavior.

“Don’t feed the trolls” FEEDS THE TROLLS.

Everyone who is legitimately concerned about trolling online owes a debt of gratitude to Lindy West and the numerous other targets of harassment — most of them women — who have spoken up publicly about their experiences, putting themselves at risk of even more harassment.

And we owe a debt of gratitude as well to Jaclyn Friedman and the others at Women, Action and the Media who also put themselves at risk when they stepped forward to assist Twitter in dealing with its harassment problem.

Let’s keep the pressure on Twitter and on other online platforms that have been used as hate amplifiers. That’s the only way to ensure that the people running these platforms actually do anything to curb the hate.

 

 

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

62 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Flora
Flora
6 years ago

“Don’t feed the trolls” FEEDS THE TROLLS.

Where were you when I was looking for a good example of irony for my grade 10 English exam?

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

“Don’t feed the trolls” FEEDS THE TROLLS.

Like I so often say…best way to starve a troll is to pull his plug. Ignoring him IS feeding him.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
6 years ago

I hope they go about this the right way, though. I mean, what’s to stop the same troll sockpuppeting in order to dodge the banhammer?

Also, I’m worried that simply taking down threats and abusive tweets could hinder victims in collecting evidence against persistent harassers.
It’s been the huge volume, and blatant instances of trolling that have allowed it to be acknowledged as a serious problem… I jut hope that “Don’t feed the trolls” doesn’t just turn into “So just report and block” when there’s an actual credible threat against the person IRL. I can just imagine law enforcement shrugging it and leaving it to Twitter to delete the comments / accounts rather than address the potentially dangerous individual behind them.

But it’s about bloody time that Twitter addressed its shoddy housekeeping. Especially if it spoils the fun of Mssrs Cernovich and Yiannopoulos and all the other shit-heels using Twitter as their own personal hate machine.

ParadoxicalIntention
6 years ago

Some people have also brought up the issue that this same system could be used against the very people it was meant to protect.

How can you protect someone from harassment if they’re being reported for it by their harassers?

It’s like that GG Vigilante guy who said that Brianna Wu was stalking him instead of the other way around.

opium4themasses
6 years ago

Awesome news. Let’s hope they can succeed.

There is already crying an gnashing of teeth over freeze peach. Love it.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
6 years ago

Well, there was a time when ‘don’t feed the trolls’ worked.

That time was well over 20 years ago, on Usenet, when most people only had one account (usually handed out by the University they were going to), there wasn’t a whole lot of anonymity, and losing that account would be a major problem. A lot of trolling was just practical jokes, thrown out onto the net to see who bit. Readership was in the low hundreds of thousands, built up over years so older folks could keep the newer folks in line. There were semi-enforced societal attitudes, and anybody who went seriously over the line could be reported to the institution providing their account, or at least banned by moderators. It took administrative access somewhere to create your own group, and nobody else had to carry it.

Then came the rise of the Web and the infamous ‘September that never ended’.

Most of the more modern stuff is active harrassment, in that they are focusing on one or more targets and going full bore with a load of disposable accounts so they don’t care if one gets burned. They’ve formed their own societies and echo chambers so they don’t have to deal with outside rules: anybody can make a website and even 1% of 1% of the population means thousands of people playing off each other and egging each other on.

‘Don’t feed the trolls’ hasn’t worked for a full generation now, and the new generation of trolls not only knows that, they know that ‘don’t feed the trolls’ used to be a valid attitude so they use that to give themselves cover.

Film Runner
6 years ago

“Don’t feed the trolls” FEEDS THE TROLLS.

Because trolling, like any other bullying or violent crime, is a social activity. When I was at school I was bullied relentlessly, and having heard the ‘they’re trying to get a reaction from you’ idea I refused to respond. I did not look at them, say anything towards them, even acknowledge their existence for a straight year and did they stop? Did they fuck. If you want to stop bullying you have to confront the problem head-on, drag the bullies out into the limelight and under the boot of the nearest authority.

ParadoxicalIntention
6 years ago

Exactly, Film.

You call that shit out loud and clear. Most of the trolls or bullies don’t want people to know they’re actually shit people. Because that would really hurt them. So they jeer you from the sidelines.

Bring on the attention, watch them shrivel up and squirm under a microscope. Some will turn inward and ask themselves “Why the fuck am I doing this? Why don’t I like this? Why did they turn on me? What did I hope to gain out of this?”, but others still will grow silent.

davidknewton
davidknewton
6 years ago

I was also given that “solution” in childhood, Film Runner – it’s so damaging to be brushed off with “just ignore them”. Even apart from just not working, it teaches you that your own feelings don’t matter and that the responsibility is on you to just take it rather than have anything done about it. I’ve no doubt that the subsequent learning to bottle up my emotions led me to my (now thankfully treated!) anxiety problem today. (The idea of having hurt feelings being viewed as inherently shameful and feminine is a separate, but related thing that I’m proud to support feminism for opposing.)

It’s infuriating to still see this poisonous attitude spread by people saying “Sticks and stones will break your bones” and the like. It’s very encouraging that raising awareness of harassment has led to someone taking notice, though time will tell if things change!

davidknewton
davidknewton
6 years ago

While I’m at it, has the First Amendment ever been cited correctly in an argument in the history of time? I mean, I’m not American and even I seem to know what it says better than any of the Twitter users who are suddenly upset that they won’t be able to send whatever death threat they like any more.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I think the pervasive attitude that trolls just want attention is not true. Or it’s only true for the more harmless trickster type of troll who says ridiculous things to provoke reactions.

The trolls that spew hate speech, harass, or threatens are different. They are trying to traumatize their victims. They want to silence people by scaring them or overwhelming them. They want to gaslight so that compassionate viewpoints seem crazy and irrational and cruel viewpoints seem normal. When we tell people not to feed these trolls, we’re reinforcing the troll’s pov. The victim is weak and crazy for reacting to a deluge of hate. The trolls are a part of the landscape. Something normal to be expected.

theomegaconstant
6 years ago

I think ‘don’t feed the trolls’ still has a place – starving trolls of their immediate gratification can be very useful. But as this post points out, you have to go to the second level and then report on their negative behavior to effect change in how they’re dealt with. Once Twitter realized that ‘core’ (i.e.; productive and profitable) users were being hurt by destructive assholes, they had to step in. Or, at least pay lip service to stepping in. We shall see.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

The K-8 school I went to in the 80s and 90s was mostly great. It was progressive. Besides math and spelling, textbooks weren’t relied on much. History was covered from the viewpoint of the oppressed. Not just rich white men. I grew up knowing Columbus wasn’t a hero. Something a lot of kids didn’t get.

My one beef with them was the terrible way bullying was handled. If you went to a teacher with bullying, they just wanted you to talk it out. That tactic actually worked great with squabbles between friends. But telling a bully how their abuse made you feel doesn’t work. They want to make you feel bad! I’m guessing the policy has changed in recent years.

katz
6 years ago

I particularly liked the “ignore the bullies” advice because it always came from teachers and principals. “What do you expect me to do about it?” I don’t know; you only run the damn school.

I always got a strong sense that the bullies’ right to an education was more important than mine, because even if administrators knew they were deliberately doing things that disrupted my school experience, they wouldn’t do anything that might disrupt their school experience, such as removing them from class.

sunnysombrera
6 years ago

I think the “don’t respond to bullies” thing started out as effective, but when bullies learnt that when their victims say nothing it means they’re successfully bothering them that’s when it all went to pot.

My high school was awful for bullying policy. I’ve always wondered if one reason schools don’t like to take action against bullies is in case their parents stomp in bawling “How could you do that to my special snowflake?!” (It wouldn’t surprise me if bullies deliberately lie to their parents about their behaviour at school). I know that the mother of my bully frequently volunteered on school trips which was why there were reluctant to take action against her little brat.

Stazia DiMarca (@St0dad)

I think there should be a team of people who just comb through the twitters of people who face harassment on a daily basis like Sarkeesian, and whenever she sends off a report of harassment, they can act. I figure if you focus on those people, you can get the trolls who just use their twitter to harass others, too. Bit talk I know.

me and not you
me and not you
6 years ago

See, ignoring people who are teasing you is effective.

I was teased a lot, but it was horribly ineffective because I am less than observant. I would give them a blank stare and say something along the lines of “…that’s bad?” or “what are you talking about?” regarding whatever I was being teased about. Legit did not know what they were going on about, and as far as I was concerned the were spouting word salad so the words they were saying didn’t bother me. I mean, they were pestering me, they were about as annoying as some running up to you and saying “APPLE COOKIE MONKEY POOP!” laughing and running off. WTF?

Bullies take it one step further – there’s actually malice there. People teasing want a reaction, regardless of what it is, but bullies want you to feel bad. People running up to and yelling “APPLE COOKIE MONKEY POOP!” at a regular basis will eventually make you feel bad regardless of it you understand. I did get bullied a handful of times when I was a kid (mean girls kind of stuff), but I went to my mom and was like “this thing happened and I don’t know why?” and then the teachers got involved and they stopped.

Carmen
Carmen
6 years ago

I checked out the A Voice for Men page on Facebook, and it deeply saddened me. Not only are these people (women as well as men) delusional and entirely lacking in empathy for the female gender (something that, contrary to popular belief, is not true of feminists in regards to the male gender), but they also fail to realize that an entire page dedicated to attacking others is not the same thing as posting/writing articles about factual events actually happening in the world (which is what happens on feminist pages). Women are accused by these people of being illogical, and yet this is a basic failure of logic, even if they could somehow defend their indefensible beliefs (although those mostly fall in the category of “not even wrong,” they are so divorced from reality). My question (if anyone wants to hazard a guess) is, how do people become like this? And just how many are there out there who think this way, and to such a degree?

Karl Winterling
6 years ago

Lenora is right. You generally couldn’t get a USENET account unless you were affiliated with some institution like a university. Persistently harassing a specific user or posting death threats or rape threats would get you reported to your institution. Traditionally, trolling was more about being disruptive and using absurd and over-the-top insults than threatening or emotionally abusing people.

Dan kasteray
Dan kasteray
6 years ago

Silence is consent, case closed. Commence troll bombing

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
6 years ago

“How can you protect someone from harassment if they’re being reported for it by their harassers?”

You have actual human beings (several) who read any tweet or series of tweets reported as harassment. You have them comparing the content of the tweets to a standardized definition or checklist of what constitutes harassment. That way you aren’t relying on a bot to count the number of times a tweet is reported and taking that as proof that something is harassing. That way you can distinguish between IMA COME TO YOUR HOUSE AND CHOKE YOU BETCH and “look at my new motorbike isn’t it kewl”.

Determining whether or not something counts as internet harassment requires humans. It’s far, far too easy for people – especially members of a dedicated internet harassment campaign – to abuse an automated system.

ikanreed
ikanreed
6 years ago

People who troll online tend to be marked by the “Dark Tetrad” personality traits, particularly sadism. citation

Those that motivated primarily by narcissism(another of the dark tetrad) could be believed to be contained and controlled by measures limiting their “reward” in the form of attention, as the old “Don’t feed the trolls” slogan goes. But when it comes to the primary motivation, there can be little doubt that it’s actual enjoyment of the suffering of others. Not only that, but studies of those who have sadistic personalities suggest that they will often sacrifice other value to cause harm to others.

That is to say, as long as the troll has reason to believe they are causing anguish, they are likely to continue. At least for most trolls.

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
6 years ago

@Dan kasteray – I don’t know where you’re getting “silence is consent”. Okay, that’s not true, I can see why “speak up, expose this” could strike you that way. Listen, I totally understand (and I’m willing to bet most people here can understand too) why a victim of internet harassment would rather just “go dark” and not give their harassers any more ammo. And I can understand why some victims of internet harassment would rather that attention *wasn’t* called to their particular case, because again, more ammo. That’s a call every individual has to make for themselves.

But it’s also true that shutting up and going away doesn’t always make it stop, and it’s true that this issue is getting more attention because some individuals have come forward and said “can you believe this is happening to me over videogames/critique/other fucking trivial bullshit?”

ktrantingredhead
6 years ago

In the not so distant future the last of the MRAs manages to survive alone in his hovel with nothing to console him but his heavily worn copy of Atlas Shrugged and a bag of Fritos. Some nights, if the wind blows just right, you can hear the creature sorrowfully lamenting, “But threatening to rape and murder women is freeeeeee speeeeeeeeech!”

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Because trolling, like any other bullying or violent crime, is a social activity. When I was at school I was bullied relentlessly, and having heard the ‘they’re trying to get a reaction from you’ idea I refused to respond. I did not look at them, say anything towards them, even acknowledge their existence for a straight year and did they stop? Did they fuck. If you want to stop bullying you have to confront the problem head-on, drag the bullies out into the limelight and under the boot of the nearest authority.

OMG, are you me? Because that’s exactly what I went through, too. Telling me to ignore them was like telling me that my being bullied, harassed and made miserable wasn’t worth troubling the authorities about. In other words, it reinforced the bullies’ essential message: You are a nobody, and your worth is nothing. Nil. Nada. Zippo. ZILCH.

If I had been taught how to yell better insults back, how to fight tooth and claw, how to fearlessly march into the principal’s office and name names, I would have had a much easier time of it any which way. But nope. Girls don’t get any lessons in physical courage AT ALL. I was taught to be quiet (which my introverted nature of course made all too easy), say nothing, don’t fight, blah blah. Nobody benefited from that but the bullies. To this day it outrages me every time I see that same “don’t be such a bother, just ignore them” attitude being trotted out. Ignoring does NOTHING. I often think I should get that tattooed on my ass so I can turn around and moon the next person who says “Ignore them” to me.

My one beef with them was the terrible way bullying was handled. If you went to a teacher with bullying, they just wanted you to talk it out. That tactic actually worked great with squabbles between friends. But telling a bully how their abuse made you feel doesn’t work. They want to make you feel bad! I’m guessing the policy has changed in recent years.

By contrast, I’m kind of glad my teachers were old-school types in that respect, and never forced me to make nice with my harassers. The last thing I’d have wanted was to talk to the bullies about my feelings. Why strip away the last shred of a victim’s dignity? They already knew they had hurt me, and just didn’t give a shit for how I felt, because I was the designated outcast and, as I said above, worth nothing to them. I wanted them taken down a peg, not boosted up further. And I wanted them to leave me alone after that.

As you say, “talk it out” is a method best suited to friends having a tiff. And not everybody IS friends, at school. That became more and more clear to me the older I got. In kindergarten, it may have seemed that way, but by the time I got to middle school, I would have been more than happy to turn my back on certain kids for evermore. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do that until graduation.

deniseeliza
deniseeliza
6 years ago

I hope they go about this the right way, though. I mean, what’s to stop the same troll sockpuppeting in order to dodge the banhammer?

Not a lot. But, for everyone you ban, a certain number will give up. Being banned is a pain if you are an established user, and even if you aren’t, creating a new account involves a small amount of work that not everyone will want to do just to troll someone. And if they create a new account, and tweet harassment, then it is even easier for a moderator to declare them to be illegitimate. “OK, this user has 3 tweets and every one of them is telling Anita Sarkeesian to kill herself. Obviously, banhammer.”

Persistent trolls will find a way to troll. But most trolls are bandwagon trolls, harassing people because their friends are doing it and they think it is funny or harmless.Make it annoying for the bandwagon trolls to participate and a lot will stop. And banning the persistent trolls will at least temporarily break up the community they’ve built around themselves on twitter.

seraph4377
6 years ago

And of course…of course!…the GamerGators and the MRA’s and the other internet abusers will blame the SJW’s.

You use the thing to hurt people, someone takes the thing away from you. Most of us learn that when we’re three.

xyzzy
6 years ago

I always feel a little surge of frustration when I see the old “feed the trolls” advice, because it has been twisted to mean something totally different from the way the Internet community on USENET originally intended/used it, much as the word “troll” has been warped.

Originally, a “troll” was a person that disrupted discussion groups by causing arguments involving as many people as possible, often by “innocently” questioning the group’s beliefs or posting strange questions (one possible-troll recently used “which fonts are most commonly installed on a computer?”). The goal was in part to remain undetected for as long as possible, so they valued subtlety/finesse and had nothing but scorn for the crude ‘newbie troll’ method of personal attacks.

So ‘trolls’ at the time were mischievous, disruptive people that really did want attention. When the person went too far over the line, the unwritten agreement was that all group members would killfile the individual and make a one-sentence post indicating that, like “have fun in the bozo bin, troll!” If a newcomer or anyone else replied to the troll’s posts, that was when “don’t feed the troll” was used — as a reminder for everyone in the community to act together against the troll, not to push the lone victim into doing so.

Catalpa
Catalpa
6 years ago

As for the ‘how can we stop harassment when banning/permabanning folks just makes them create new accounts and keep on harassing?’ problem, that could be potentially fixed by having a setting that you can switch on to disallow any accounts newer than, say, 2 weeks old, from being able to address you. Trolls get banned, if they want new accounts to harass with, they’ll have to wait weeks, and then they’ll get banned again if/when they start it up, and have to wait again (in an ideal situation, anyway).

It won’t solve the problem of actual threats not being addressed by the authorities, but it will make abusers lives harder.

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
6 years ago

@xyzzy Yeah, the old-skool trolls would set out to provoke people by deliberately saying something contrary, then sit back and chortle when others reacted by losing their shit. The “trolls” sending Sarkeesian, Wu, Quinn and others horrible death threats aren’t sitting back and chortling, they’re foaming at the mouth and beating themselves over the head with their own fists.

Aunt Edna
Aunt Edna
6 years ago

Excellent post, David.

seraph4377
6 years ago

Meh. I keep hearing nostalgic stories about “mischievous” old school trolls. As far as I’m concerned, “mischievous” means they’re an asshole who thinks they’re funny at best, a bully who expects their victim to laugh along at worst. They may not be terrorists, but that doesn’t make them decent human beings.

katz
6 years ago

As for the ‘how can we stop harassment when banning/permabanning folks just makes them create new accounts and keep on harassing?’ problem, that could be potentially fixed by having a setting that you can switch on to disallow any accounts newer than, say, 2 weeks old, from being able to address you. Trolls get banned, if they want new accounts to harass with, they’ll have to wait weeks, and then they’ll get banned again if/when they start it up, and have to wait again (in an ideal situation, anyway).

Twitter needs to be fundamentally restructured in ways like this if it’s to be improved. The totally flat interface with its complete lack of screening is one of its big strengths, but also one of its big weaknesses. These kinds of screening tools need to be available.

Screening by number of followers is also good, particularly if paired with an automatic check for fake followers.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
6 years ago

@seraph4377:
Agreed, it doesn’t make them decent human beings. As I noted above, they were basically practical jokesters, along the lines of the person who puts ink on the eye-socket end of a pair of binoculars and then hands them to someone with a ‘take a look at that!’ just to watch the person get rings around their eyes.

Still a far cry from the death and rape threats flying around these days, though.

acrannymint
acrannymint
6 years ago

Given the sheer volume of traffic on these sites, I don’t know that Twitter or Facebook will ever be able to respond proactively. The best they can do is respond quickly which I understand has been lacking

bodycrimes
6 years ago

It might also have the effect of protecting some trolls from themselves. There have been some awful cases in the UK of trolls acting badly with terrible consequences – for them. A couple of not terribly bright young trolls sent death and bomb threats to some feminists. It started as low level threats, but as they got more attention they escalated the threats. They were sad and lonely people who didn’t seem to be thinking about the women receiving the threats.

But they went to jail for it.

Then there was the middle aged woman who tweeted nasty stuff at the McCanns (who lost their daughter in Portugal) and when she was outed by the media, she killed herself.

Tessa
6 years ago

The horrible “don’t feed the trolls” refrain also creates an environment that encourages harassment. It puts all the blame on the victim by making any response the wrong action to take. They don’t address what the harasser is doing, just what the one being victimized is. This creates a sense that what the harasser is doing is neutral. The person harassing surely believes they aren’t doing anything wrong… The stupid person they’re “trolling” can make it all go away by shutting up and getting off the internet. (And of course silence is the true goal of modern “trolling”)

The environment becomes one where the harassers are the default population. Everybody else just has to navigate the troll’s home, and if they get loud and obnoxious… “You shouldn’t feed them…”

If people would put as much energy in making it clear trolling and harassment is wrong as they do telling people not to feed them… the environment would shift to one that doesn’t tolerate it.

It pisses me off so much! So often wrong doing is treated as a force of nature. All these people doing this shit are human beings.

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
6 years ago

I’ve said this elsewhere, but part of the problem is that lots of older people – particularly in law enforcement – still think the internet is this nebulous thing that doesn’t really matter in the real world. They don’t realise that “Just shut it off” is actually the equivalent of “well just don’t go outside then”.

katz
6 years ago

Given the sheer volume of traffic on these sites, I don’t know that Twitter or Facebook will ever be able to respond proactively. The best they can do is respond quickly which I understand has been lacking

I think it’s possible to respond proactively. There are various things you can do to make trolling less appealing, from reducing anonymity to adding greater user control over who sees what. It’s never going to eliminate harassment, but it could make Twitter a less attractive platform for it.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Cyberwulf,
True. The people I’m charge have no idea what 4 chan and reddit are and they don’t know how twitter works. It’s not in the comfort zone so they brush it off. Maybe twitter could donate some funds to train police departments on this issue. Police departments really need to put some effort into hiring people with expertise in social media and computers.

Karl Winterling
6 years ago

There’s a pretty big difference between posting a deliberately inflammatory “Apple vs. Microsoft” article to annoy people and direct, targeted attacks against a specific person. Calling the attacks against Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian “trolling” minimizes the seriousness of what’s going on.

Karl Winterling
6 years ago

Think of it this way: If people are trying to get an emotional reaction and cause trouble in general, ignoring them will probably make them go away. If they’re targeting a specific person, ignoring them sends the message that you’re tolerating their behavior.

ginnyn566
6 years ago

@Catalpa

I always wondered why they can’t permaban by mac address. The mac address is unique to your inet card and there before they can’t rejoin the site unless they change the gadget they are using for connect to the site.

I know is kind of extreme, but if the same mac address get banned for the 3rd time with different users, I think is ok.

In other things, we should insist to twitter to store all the tweets of the harraser account in a special site in which only twitter and authorities can access, or, in last instance, be able to release the information to the authorities by request of them. Because close an account for harassment and actually delete the information are two different things.

lkeke35
6 years ago

WWTH: That remind me of that Geico commercial where the old lady is talking about posting things to her wall and the camera pulls back to show that she’s posted photos to the wall of her living room.

Karl Winterling
6 years ago

It’s possible to spoof a MAC address, which is relatively easy on a software level. You can also use a hacked shell account to post or install an inet card or driver that creates a random MAC address every time it establishes a connection.

Binjabreel
6 years ago

Hahaha, I say that all the damn time:
“That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!”

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

It has always seemed to me that both schools and parents need to be very alert to the first signs of bullying. It is a behavior that becomes a habit, and bullies eventually find themselves generally detested and unable to fit in, so letting a child be a bully is not doing them the slightest favor. It has to be caught in the bud — much easier to fix it at the beginning that dealing with it once it has become ingrained in a child who will probably resort to the same anti-social behavior as an adult.

Another issue: People are correct that the First Amendment does not apply to private businesses; Twitter can ban people for just about anything they want. But if you take things to the police, they ARE the government, and the First Amendment does apply to them.

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

Another issue: People are correct that the First Amendment does not apply to private businesses; Twitter can ban people for just about anything they want. But if you take things to the police, they ARE the government, and the First Amendment does apply to them.

Except we’re not talking about arresting people just for being misogynistic piles of elephant shit, we’re talking about arresting people for rape, death, mass shooting and bomb threats. Abuse, harassment and threats are not political or religious opinions and the First Amendment will never apply.

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

M, you are correct insofar as that if you could get a conviction in an egregious case, the courts might well uphold it. However the authorities seem to get very timid when they think that the thugs on the right wing might start calling THEM jack-booted thugs (as the style is these days), so the problem is getting such a case through the system and into the courts.

Being nervous about trampling on people’s free speech rights is a good thing, but some verbal assaults do more damage — sometimes far more — than many physical assaults, and the law needs to recognize that and do its job.