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GregWHoward: Crybaby

a guest Apr 4th, 2010 1,848 Never
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  1. Twitter bills itself as “without a doubt the best way to share and discover what is  happening right now.” However, it is rapidly becoming the best place to cyberbully,  post pornography, and engage in the nastiest and most vulgar speech possible, all  with impunity. Despite growing protests from long-established users, Twitter  continues to officially turn a deaf ear to the growing outrage.
  2.  
  3. In recent months, a disturbing trend has been emerging where a small percentage of  users have grown increasingly bold in their attacks on other users. These attacks may  include outright slander, libel and defamation. At times, the attacks contain overt  references to sexual or other bodily function activity in the most graphic and vulgar  of terms. The attackers will also resort to posting links within messages appearing  to be news and opinion tweets in which the links go to graphic pornographic or  scatalogic images. Finally, the last method of attack so to create faked retweets of  messages from users in which overtly racial (including use of the “N” word),  pornographic, or graphic sexual activity is falsely attributed to the target of the  attack.
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  5. Twitter does not have any stated minimum age for users in its Terms of Service,  unlike Facebook and other services. Therefore, not only are the attacks being seen by  all users of Twitter, they are being seen in many cases by users under the age of 18.  Video games and movies contain ratings that bar inappropriate material to minors.  Twitter has become a free-fire zone where nearly anything goes. It should be rated  NC-17 based on the content that is appearing more and more frequently. Users of  Twitter may expect to see the “N” word used with disturbing regularity as a means to  attack another. Users should also prepare themselves @h@to hear discussions and see  images of explosive diarrhea, images of gay orgies imbedded in tweets supposedly  about White House Easter egg hunts, see open and graphically vulgar sexual activity  being offered or used as abuse, and anything else that may come to mind of the  cyberbullies.
  6.  
  7. Twitter’s official stance is to do nothing unless the activity falls within a very  narrow range of proscribed activities. In essence, Twitter condones the activity and  makes no effort to control it or shield users from the attacks of other users.
  8.  
  9. The most common targets of the attacks in our investigation have been those who have  strong conservative political views and who have high follower counts. These  individuals may be singled out or attacked in groups using any or all of the chosen  methods in combination. Intially the attacks were limited to a very small group of  people, including conservative celebrities, but they have fanned out to rank and file  users in random vicious attacks.
  10.  
  11. Reports may be made to Twitter about the activity, but with very rare exceptions, the  person reporting the activity will receive the following stock reply:
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  13. *** some shit about twitter not giving a fuck ****
  14.  
  15. In summary, Twitter’s only solution is for the user to block incoming messages from  the offender. This would work well if Twitter were a simple chatroom or Facebook  method of communication. Blocking does not prevent the attacker from posting anything  they want about another user to the public timeline. So, Twitter’s solution is for  the person offended and being attacked to stop seeing the attacks, but every other  user of Twitter will continue to see it, and that is the whole purpose of the  attacks: to place inflammatory, racial, sexual, pornographic or other material into  the public timeline for all to see in order to harass or defame another.
  16.  
  17. To compound matters, most users of Twitter filter the public timeline by using  “hashtags.” A hashtag is the # symbol followed by a short string of letters or  numbers by which the user can filter out everything that does not contain this  hashtag designation. For example, conservatives on Twitter tend to use #tcot (Top  Conservatives On Twitter), #ocra (Organized Conservative Resistance Alliance), and  #ucot (United Conservatives On Twitter). There are hundreds if not thousands of other  popular hashtags throughout Twitter where people find topics of interest to them  where they can read and post their ideas.
  18.  
  19. By posting to hashtags, the attackers are able to make sure their tweets are being  seen by a large and focused audience. Blocking an attacker does not in any way stop  the tweets from appearing in the hashtag searches. In fact, the attackers make use of  the hashtags to target their attacks on a person to the friends and followers of  their selected targeted user.
  20.  
  21. Twitter’s official responses are basically, “This is how it is. If you don’t like it,  you can leave.” Interesting approach by a company supposedly supplying a service  where people of like minds can meet up and discuss ideas.
  22.  
  23. Not satisfied with Twitter’s official responses to the numerous complaints being  processed by them about this recent uptick in activity, direct tweets were sent to  Evan Williams (@ev), Twitter’s CEO, and to Del Harvey (@delbius), head of Twitter’s  Trust and Safety Team. These messages contained links to offensive messages with a  request they personally look at the material and see if this is what they wanted  Twitter to become. Mr. Williams never responded. Ms. Harvey only responded by saying  publicly that she would look into the matter. However, Ms. Harvey also directly  responded that Twitter does not mediate content. This was a collosal mistake, as the  pace of the attacks moved to a whole new dimension and became more widespread.
  24.  
  25. Twitter will have to re-evaluate the standards of acceptable behavior if it wishes to  survive with this disturbing change in the way Twitter is used. It is far from a  family environment. In fact, it would be considered an offensive place by most  persons at this point.
  26.  
  27. What can the users of Twitter do? There are several options. They can continue to  tweet and try to ignore the increasingly vulgar environment being created. They can  simply leave to other services where blocking an offender actually serves the  intended purpose, such as Facebook. Or, Twitter users can demand action by contacting  Twitter and its officials in every way possible.
  28.  
  29. We hope that Twitter will realize its current policies are inadequate to providing  the environment they wish to portray they provide. We are not hopeful at this stage.  Twitter officials were given 48-hour notice of this article and the material to be  presented. They never replied to request for comment or clarification.
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