Two Must Read Articles on Proposals to Tackle Twitter Abuse

By Tim Hardy

These are the two best articles I’ve read on proposals to tackle twitter abuse. I’d recommend anyone interested in the topic – and if you’re not, why not? – to read both.

Prevalent myths about the legal status of Twitter (and other online platforms) include:

  • Twitter already has effective systems in place to deter abuse
  • Twitter acts only as a conduit and is not liable for its users’ acts
  • What is being proposed creates a legal right which did not previously exist
  • What is being proposed is a one-stop, automatic ban function
  • Abuse is a basic reality of life on-line; anyone bothered by it should leave
  • Proposals to make abuse reporting easier attack freedom of speech.

Twitter Abuse: Law and Myth by Susan Hall.

I’ve seen a concern that an easy ‘report abuse’ button on Twitter could be taken up by celebrities looking to sick their followers onto someone. But if implemented intelligently, the system could actually spell the end of that kind of abuse of power. If I get a load of reports in a short timeframe it’s fairly obvious it’s been sparked by something specific. If a tweet is constantly reported that was directed at someone famous, it’s the work of a few minutes to check that celebrity’s timeline and see if they unleashed the mob. In such a situation I think a short sleb suspension would be in order; banning people for malicious reporting does happen and I’ve done it.

Twitter reporting and general points on moderation by Rachel Bagelmouse.

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