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Blogger Incites Outcry Over Twitter Harassment 146

CNet is reporting that one blogger has started an outcry about harassment as it applies to Twitter. While their written stance appears to support the safeguarding of abuse, Twitter appears to be waffling on the issue when it comes to the hard line of enforcement. "The final response to Waldman's complaint from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone asserted that "Twitter is a communication utility, not a mediator of content," and that "Twitter recognizes that it is not skilled at judging content disputes between individuals. Determining the line between update and insult is not something that Twitter, nor a crowd, would do well. Stone added that Twitter's team would continue talking about which situations were appropriate for account banning."
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Blogger Incites Outcry Over Twitter Harassment

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  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @07:26PM (#23523668) Journal
    Oh, the other Twitter.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Joe U ( 443617 )
      I'm going to go out on a limb and say both Twitters have a roughly equal amount of 'suck', but one of them might actually amount to something one day. (Hint: It's not going to be the M$ one)
      • Re:Sock puppets? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by erikina ( 1112587 ) <> on Friday May 23, 2008 @07:41PM (#23523754) Homepage
        He will, if you keep giving him so much attention. He's a troll (and a damn successful one). Stop feeding him.
        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by ResidntGeek ( 772730 )
          The problem with twitter, as I see it, is he's not a conventional troll. Behind the troll posts and stupidity I don't see a teenager trying to annoy people or an overzealous OSS supporter, I see someone who genuinely believes the stupid shit he posts, who really doesn't understand why everyone hates him having 10 usernames, who really has no idea how to properly maintain sockpuppets without blatantly self-promoting (and using the same writing style in each), and who really doesn't have much of a grasp on in
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Joe U ( 443617 )

            He seems like an asocial, obnoxious person who needs to be chewed out until he understands what he's doing wrong.
            Yeah, every popular site has one. Some of us even have em in real life. People like that are boat anchors on any site with user generated content, they slow the site down and get a lot of crap stirred up in the process.
            • He's THAT guy, the one you all love to hate. The fact that he's able to stir things up shows that many of you do care in one way or another. I wouldn't call him a troll per se, maybe he's just a misguided idiot. There are others who are trolls in the purest sense of the word - the guy who posts that story about the library bathroom is a good example. Or the folks who post goatse links for their own sake.

              IWAPITUIGALAGTFU -> (I was a professional internet troll until I got a life and grew the fuck up)
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            > I could be wrong, of course

            No, you nailed it, pretty much. The only other thing to add here is that he is utterly and completely convinced that all his problems on Slashdot are the result of a massive conspiracy directed against him personally by Microsoft.

            The first few times I saw him make that argument I just sort of chuckled, but he is quite serious. He just knows that he is being modded down by evil agents of Microsoft intent on subverting Slashdot and his own personal freedom of speech.

            The idea th
            • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

              by dreamchaser ( 49529 )
              He also thinks that anyone who responds negatively to him is an MS astroturfer. I used to find it a bit amusing, now it just makes me sad for him. I agree that he really seems to believes in both the distortions he posts AND the massive conspiracy against him.
              • I think he works for microsoft.
    • by dedazo ( 737510 )
      You know when I saw this story for a second there - just for a tiny second - I thought it was April 1st and CmdrTaco was running a story about Slashdot's most prolific puppet master [].

      Then I squinted and saw it was about the web site. So I piped down, took off my asbestos suit and continued my Friday manicure.

    • that it seems they are harassing Twits,

      or is it harassment to say they are inciting Twits?
    • Yeah, I kept trying to figure out why the summary referred to Twitter using "their," and why CNet would care enough to write a whole story about a schizophrenic forum troll...
    • One is a large collection of 14-year olds screaming, bitching, and generally harrassing and trolling as many people as they can.

      The other is some blogging site.
  • Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Threni ( 635302 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @07:30PM (#23523684)
    People really take this shit seriously. Why can't they just say `we don't care. If you think you're being harassed, go to the police. We make no changes to our code, or messages sent over it, without a court order. If you don't like it - stop using our service.`.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hansoloaf ( 668609 ) <> on Friday May 23, 2008 @08:05PM (#23523902)
      me thinks the "blogger" is just trying to maintain or increase traffic to her site - thinking she's somewhat important.

      One interesting tidbit is that she works for Pownce. I do know that this harassment started before she worked for Pownce. Yet I do see that the conflict of interest is in there now if she continues to press her case. She is free to close her twitter account and utilize pownce fully.
      • But that would mean making a potentially socially *devastating* move once Pownce is finally sucked all the way down the drain. She'd have to spend ALL that time going back to Twitter and looking like a twit
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by me at werk ( 836328 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @08:13PM (#23523942) Homepage Journal
      They'd love to [], but when the community manager of Pownce (a twitter clone with a few more features) wants to sully the name of Twitter as Pownce is failing, you've gotta be a loud damsel in distress, don't you?
    • by murdocj ( 543661 )
      And if Twitter actually SAID that to start with, fine. But no, they said they would take action against users who harass other users, and then they sit on their hands. How about Twitter actually doing what they said they would do? Wild concept, no?
  • by conlaw ( 983784 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @07:34PM (#23523712)
    As stated in TFA, Twitter's TOS includes the following:

    [Twitter] may, but have no obligation to, remove content and accounts containing content that we determine in our sole discretion are unlawful, offensive, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, or otherwise objectionable or violates any party's intellectual property, or these terms of use.
    In other words, they've left themselves an out for claims such as these.
    • Just like in all contracts I make: I may, but have not obligation to pay any tax or follow any law at my sole discretion.

      Sorry, doesn't work.
      • Not following the law is, well... illegal.

        Not acting to prevent harassment on the Internet? Generally legal.
      • by maxume ( 22995 )
        Sure it works. If you gave me a contract that said you didn't have any obligation to pay, I would laugh in your face and not sign it. Using the Twitter service is pretty much the opposite of not signing a contract.

        (they can't excuse themselves from actual legal obligations with the contract, but they aren't trying to, so it isn't a problem they have)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mike89 ( 1006497 )
      What I find funny is the complete double-standards of the internet community at large. eg. "OMG, Microsoft banned me because my gamertag seemed offensive, their ToS is stupid as!", then "OMG, Twitter won't enforce their ToS, that's stupid as!".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) *

        OMG, Microsoft banned me because my gamertag seemed offensive, their ToS is stupid as!", then "OMG, Twitter won't enforce their ToS, that's stupid as!".

        Ok, I'll bite... Stupid as what? ;)

      • by mmkkbb ( 816035 )
        Yeah, it's funny that a community composed of millions has people who have opposite viewpoints.
        • by Mike89 ( 1006497 )

          Yeah, it's funny that a community composed of millions has people who have opposite viewpoints.
          It's the same people, they just like to bitch whichever way they can this time.
      • Well, maybe because the "Internet community" isn't even a community at all. It's just a bunch of unrelated people who use the same network. There is no single topic, interest, point of view, etc, which would be shared among all members of that supposed "community".

        It's bit like claiming that USA by mid-1800's had complete double standards. "OMG, slavery is protected by the constitution and an integral part of our way of life." Then in the same day, "OMG, slavery is an abomination and the constitution doesn'
  • Overreaction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ady1 ( 873490 )
    Its a free service after all. If you don't like it then don't use it. Their TOS from TFA seem to suggest the same that they have no obligation to remove anything.
  • by Anonymous Coward []

    There are many people posting in this thread, some more ardently than others. Good points are dotted here and there. Of particular note are the two replies from Twitter employees. It's interesting how neither of them pull the "we have no obligation according to the TOS" card and how neither of them make any move to discredit the complaint.

    Is silence tantamount to agreement, in this case?
    • by me at werk ( 836328 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @08:07PM (#23523906) Homepage Journal
      There's a good comment there pointing out that this is all a bit of an attention whoring scheme (where's the full disclosure that the blogger crying out works for Pownce, a twitter competitor?), right here [].


      I have a list of 13 tweets that Ariel sent us as examples of the abuse from the account she wanted banned. According to our records, this is everything she sent us, except for those from the âoeconfessionsâ account, which Ariel says [] was not the main problem. (I couldnâ(TM)t look those up, because the posts themselves were deleted before we could look at them.)

      I would *love* to post the whole file of these examples. I think it would clear a lot of things up. Unfortunately, since this content is the source of all this strife, and itâ(TM)s now off the Internet, that seemsâ¦well, not quite right.

      What I will tell you is this:

      Out of these posts, exactly one mentions Ariel by name. It calls her âoeexperienced.â The others do not personally identify Ariel.

      One of them uses the word âoecuntâ (with a quote, presumably from Ariel). None contain either âoecrackâ or âoewhore.â None contain threats, physical or otherwise. Most are insults about physical or personality attributes without referring to anyone specifically. If you were following both Ariel and the account of this woman when these posts were made, it may have been clear who she was referring to. Out of that context, you would probably have no clue. But even if they would have mentioned Ariel by name, most of them are not actionable, because we donâ(TM)t have a rule against insulting people or hurting their feelings.

      Caveat: Many of the examples she sent us were from Flickr. I didnâ(TM)t look at all of these, becauseâ¦well, we donâ(TM)t run Flickr.

      Our stance is this: We stand by our TOS. We have deleted accounts for abuse of various kinds. We had to make a judgement call here, as one does in all such cases. This didnâ(TM)t meet the bar for being banned, in our opinion.

      You can disagree with our judgment call. And thatâ(TM)s fine. But youâ(TM)re choosing to do that without seeing the content, and someone has very carefully painted a picture that has misled many people. (One might ask why Ariel didnâ(TM)t post the full tweets in order to strengthen her case.)

      Even if you do disagree with our judgment call, this is not an argument about whether or not weâ(TM)re enforcing our TOS; this is an argument about how we define âoeharassmentâ or âoeabuse.â

      THAT IS ALL.
      # Evan Williams said on May 23rd, 2008 at 6:45 pm:

      One more thing:

      @Russ: âoeâ¦a lawsuit, seems to be a concern of yours correct?â

      No, not correct. That is a total red herring that was probably constructed to make us look like a cowardly corporation (clever!).

      Not that we canâ(TM)t be sued â" sure, we can. But that has not motivated our actions here.

      Now the content of the "Ariel says" comment:

      # Ariel Waldman Says:
      May 23rd, 2008 at 12:52 pm

      @ericabiz youâ(TM)re right and I have worked with kosso and thanked him in the past and I very much appreciated his objective understanding of the issue.

      I chose not to mention him because the majority of the harassment I reference was created by a different account than the one he had created and I didnâ(TM)t want to drag him through this.

      All preserved so that when they try to cover it up, slashdot has a backup.
      • To offer a different argument, that it isn't a "publicity stunt"...

        Her mommy chimed in saying that supposedly it's a real life stalker that is pestering her []

        That said, my opinion is she is a bit of an attention whore. Oops is she going to try to get my /. account shut down?
        • If the allegations contained in that post are true, wouldn't a restraining order against said stalker (or even charges of stalking w/o abuse) be more appropriate? It's ridiculously easy to get a restraining order in most jurisdictions of the US.
  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Friday May 23, 2008 @08:01PM (#23523864)
    What, was Max Power already taken?
  • 1. Close browser window.
    2. Turn off computer.
    3. Go outside.
    4. ???
    5. Profit!
  • There will no doubt be all sorts of threads here about whether Twitter has to remove content, if people are making too big a deal about this, comparisons to Flickr/YouTube/Microsoft(of course), etc... And of course LOTS of conversations about why Twitter is always down.

    But to me the real issue here is simple: This will make people say "If that is the way Twitter treats people, I'm moving on".

    A community-building site needs its community, otherwise it is just a php script sitting on a server somewhere. Piss
  • I am tired of people using teh Interwebs to incite outrage over something on teh Interwebs.

    Don't like flamers on Twitter? Don't use it.
  • by 88NoSoup4U88 ( 721233 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @08:10PM (#23523922)
    I assume harassment on Twitter consists of pre-twittering someone's intention of going for a shit []?

    Or is it being Twit-rolled []
  • by Cathoderoytube ( 1088737 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @08:13PM (#23523936)
    When you're dealing with the level of stupid that feels the need to post updates of whatever mundane crap they're doing at every moment of the day you're going to have to expect to attract a large number of other stupids. I'll say that MAYBE twitter really isn't an integral part of the internet, or blogosphere or whatever so much as it is an exercise in self absorbed gobshittery. I guess that's what 'web 2.0' is supposed to be though.

    Considering the individual in this case is a 'popular blogger' she should expect some bloody hate mail. I'm sure she gets plenty of lovey dovey crap from her followers as well, and they're all doing their very best to send her emails with smiley faces so she'll feel all good about having a blog and a twitter account.

    I for one welcome hatred! That's why I'm not posting this anonymously :)

    • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Friday May 23, 2008 @08:30PM (#23524030)

      I understand they're planning a somewhat less "me-centric" version of Twitter for people who still have room in their heads for at least one thought per day that isn't strictly related to themselves.

      I believe they're going to call it "Wanker".

    • This is why I love maddox. He tells it like it is. []

      Incidentally, she should just do with her hate mail what maddox does with his: []
    • Who pissed in your corn flakes?

      Why do you care so much if other people use a web service, update their friends/family/strangers with important or unimportant facts, and generally have a presence on the web? Does it REALLY affect you so much that you have to rant about it online? Do you have to resort to personal attacks on someone whom you've never met, never read, and don't care about?

      I'll never understand the hate some people have about other people using the internet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) *

        Do you have to resort to personal attacks on someone whom you've never met, never read, and don't care about?

        I have a question here....

        If they've never met them, never read their work/read about them, and don't care about them.... is it "personal"? Jus' asking...

      • It's the messy business we call the exchange of ideas and opinions. I figure anybody who feels to need to post how they're having their cornflakes on the internet is a self absorbed gobshite. This is the sort of inane crap you associate with celebrity gossip rags.

        Like did you hear?! Some idiot who runs a blog I've never heard about till she filed a lawsuit because the internet wasn't going her way just bought a new box of tampons!! I can't wait for the next update!!
      • Why do you care so much if other people use a web service, update their friends/family/strangers with important or unimportant facts, and generally have a presence on the web? Does it REALLY affect you so much that you have to rant about it online? Do you have to resort to personal attacks on someone whom you've never met, never read, and don't care about?

        The answer is yes. And the rants over which you are clearly so offended are in fact the well-deserved ridicule that silly people doing silly things in public should come to expect.

    • For what it's worth, I use Twitter so I can update my girlfriend about what I'm doing (for example, if I'm going to be playing Civilization I'll tweet as much so she knows I can't hear the phone and that I'll be busy for a few hours). Not all of us are self-absorbed assholes who feel everything about us is important enough for everyone else to know.
      • by maxume ( 22995 )
        If you were aiming for that irony, beautiful. If you weren't, that's beautiful too.
    • I'll say that MAYBE twitter really isn't an integral part of the internet, or blogosphere or whatever so much as it is an exercise in self absorbed gobshittery.

      I'll admit that I use Twitter. I decided to check it out when the jQuery team announced that they would be twittering. I use it as a "multiple IM" type of thing. If I want to send basically the same short IM to a few friends, I'll Twitter it. If I want to make a long, detailed point, I'll e-mail it. In fact, the Twitter client I use (Twhirl []) hel

  • You can't fix stupid.
  • The problem is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) <> on Friday May 23, 2008 @08:33PM (#23524052) Homepage
    She's pissed that someone called her a crack-whore looking cunt.

    Here's how I see it: She looks like a crack whore, and all this bitching about being called a name makes her a cunt. Meaning: She's a crack whore looking cunt.

    She's an 'internet celebrity' (I guess) and decided to use her real information in her accounts. Next, she made her Flickr account known to all, and also posted skanky pictures in it. And when someone called her out on it, she cried.

    She could easily stop using it, since it's just ego masturbation anyway. "Look at all the people who care that I'm brushing my teeth!"
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Crack-whore cunt is an opinion and opinions are protected. If the guy was tracking her down and painting it on her car or her apartment walls in human blood, then we've got a problem. Crying because someone said you have pointy knees on the internet makes you a fucktard.

      Like I mentioned above, she seems to be suffering what recent studies out of the university of North Carolina show - which is that women who are full of themselves (THINK they are more attractive) tend to also claim they are victims of bully
      • by Anonymous Coward
        GTFO, this isn't flamebait. Somebody please mod this back up.
      • MOD PARENT UP. (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Or you are just yet another little fucktard who thinks they matter and that the world gives one shit about you in any way shape or form.

        Thats the lesson for today kids. If you get upset over shit you dont have to read. On a screen you can turn off. you ARE a fucktard. please kill yourself so the general noise level of the universe will drop a tiny tiny tiny bit.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And you are a misogynist.
    • by mpesce ( 146930 )
      Wow. I haven't read such a misogynist comment on Slashdot ever?

      Repeating the slanders - and justifying them - is just, well, it's wrong. It's bad behavior. And it's not to the point of the original post. It's what's known as an 'ad hominem' attack.

      And somehow this got modded to '5 - Insightful'. Which means there are a few other people out there who are clearly just as misogynist. That's even more disturbing, because had I points today, this would have been modded down to '-1 -
      • And? If you're a 'celebrity' and you can't handle people talking about you, drop out of the public eye. She accepted a job that put her name and face out there, and someone decided to troll her. Instead of ignoring it, she cried to Twitter. When they said "Ignore it," she cried to Digg. Digg front paged it and people thought "aww poor baby." They should have been thinking "why doesn't she walk away" or "turn the other cheek and grow up."

        And if the person complaining was a guy, I'd say the same thing.
      • I haven't read such a misogynist comment on Slashdot since

        Huh? I didn't see anything that was misogynistic. Dickish? Sure. But I don't recall a comment implying the poster possesses a hatred of women. This woman in particular, maybe, but not women in general.

        Now, if the poster had said "Woman love to bitch, and that makes them cunts", *that* would've been misogynistic.
  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @08:36PM (#23524070)
    she is just twitterpated...
  • Is it libelous? Is it threatening? If it's neither, there is no legal grounds to remove it.

    Twitter may decide that they "don't want to be that kind of service", but that's their business decision, as is how they proceed against TOS violaters, or whether they do at all.
  • One blogger whining about 'harassment' gets a few supporting comments on her post, and she's 'inciting outrage'?

    Must be a web 2.0 thing.

  • wtf? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by acvh ( 120205 ) <geek@m s c i g a r> on Friday May 23, 2008 @10:50PM (#23524750) Homepage

    she's a "social-media insights consultant"
    here's an insight, free of charge: get a real life.
  • a "social-media insights consultant"?

    If I understand it correctly it means, according to Wikipedia, "someone who is too lazy/stupid to get a real job. Who wants to sit around all day, playing with their Mac (what else?) and waste time on dumb pointless sites like Twitter."

    I forgot, she's a "sort of celebrity".

    Which means no one's ever heard of her.

    At the end of the day, who gives a shit?

    Grow up, get out into the real world with real responsibilities to concern you.

    Oh no, perhaps I'm harassing her now as wel
  • I say:

    Girl, get a life. This "online harassment" shit is nonsense, just don't use the twitter anymore. That's it, problem solved.

    I witnessed a number of "online wars" on several online communities. Some people just take it way too seriously. But it is really very childish.

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