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Posts Tagged ‘trolls’

How Twitter Plans To Battle “Horrifying” Hate Speech While Encouraging Freedom

Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo spoke to the Financial Times about the hate speech and trolls that have become so prevalent on the social network, explaining how the company plans to fight back while remaining a haven for those seeking freedom of expression.
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Twitter Must Reveal Bullies’ Identities Or Be Held Legally Responsible, New Law Says

Unless Twitter coughs up the identities of those using 140 characters to abuse, slander and otherwise troll victims, a newly proposed UK law would see the company hauled into court to pay hefty fines.
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How To Get Rid Of A Twitter Villain [INFOGRAPHIC]

We’ve all had to face up to a Twitter villain from time to time. Those people that don’t let your tweet go without picking apart the grammar mistakes, incorrect use of commas, logical fallacies and inconsistent comments.

How do you deal with your Twitter critics? This infographic lays out the 8 most common types, and gives you the tools you need to fight them off.
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Trent Reznor Quits Twitter – Let The Celebrity Backlash Begin

Trent Reznor has deleted his Twitter account.

You may recall his well-publicised rant about his experiences with certain members of the network last month:

I approached that as a place to be less formal and more off-the-cuff, honest and “human”. I was not expecting to broadcast details of my love life there, but it happened because I’m in love and it’s all I think about and that’s that. If this has bummed you out or destroyed what you’ve projected on me, fair enough – it’s probably time for you to leave. You are right, I’m not the same person I was in 1994 (and I’m happy about that). Are you?

Back then, he threatened to cut back, and stop sharing personal information – now he’s decided it’s better to stop altogether. No goodbyes, no final tweet, no nothing. Which is perhaps the best way to do it, but here’s my question: does this mean the assholes have won? And if they have, is this the beginning of the end for celebrities and I ♥ Twitter?

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A Block On Twitter Isn't A Block At All

In my article “Why Replies On Twitter Are Far More Damaging Than Direct Messages“, I address the limitations of the block feature on Twitter. As Twitter’s help portal states:

Blocking someone means that you (and your pic) will not appear on the blocked party’s profile page, friends time line, badge, or anywhere else. The person will not be notified that they’ve been blocked, and they will be unable to follow you. If your account is public, the blocked party can still view your profile page, but can’t receive your updates in their timeline or on their phone.

This is all well and good, but as a system it’s an extremely casual approach to a much bigger problem. When you block somebody, they can still:

  • Read your timeline
  • Send you @replies, which are still visible to everybody else, and remain within Twitter search, and will be delivered to you if you have a search for your replies configured on Seesmic Desktop or TweetDeck
  • Re-tweet your messages, which can give the impression to others that you are ‘friends’

TrollIf you’ve had experience as a bulletin board administrator, you’ll know that when you properly block somebody, you have the facility to stop the person from reading anything on the forum (assuming half-decent, standardised software). With plugins, you have the same powers when you run a blog. Likewise, when you block somebody on Facebook, that’s it for them. They can’t read anything you’ve said. You simply disappear.

Why Is It Different On Twitter?

So, why is it different on Twitter? Why does it need to be? I can’t think of any reason why somebody would think the block system as it stands is acceptable. Twitter’s block is a bit like taking out a restraining order on somebody, and then letting them watch you on a webcam.

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Why Replies On Twitter Are Far More Damaging Than Direct Messages

The direct message system on Twitter is only two-way if both parties are following each other. If you’re following somebody and they’re not following you back, they can send you a direct message, but you can’t reply using the same method. Not only is this poor etiquette on their part, but it’s a really stupid idea from Twitter.

Where’s the logic? Is it meant to protect us? If you’re following somebody and they’re spamming you with direct message after direct message, you can unfollow them. You can block them. They’re no longer an issue, because the direct message facility has been removed from their power.

It’s not so with @replies. Anyone can @reply anybody else at any time, whether they’re following you or not. In light of the policy regarding DMs, how does this make sense?

  1. @replies go into the public stream, and are visible by everybody (you can read any user’s @replies by going to Twitter search and entering @username, i.e., @stephenfry).
  2. Even if you block somebody, they can still @reply you. And while those replies won’t appear in your timeline, they will become part of the stream.

Meantime, direct messages are private: they can only be seen by the recipient. It doesn’t add up.

The potential for abuse here is enormous. It’s so big, in fact, that I’m not only surprised we haven’t seen a major event already, but that one doesn’t take place on a daily basis.

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