Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 20th Jul 2016 23:03 UTC
Internet & Networking

Twitter has banned one of its most notoriously contentious voices. On Tuesday evening, the microblogging service permanently suspended the account of [a notorious troll], a day after he incited his followers to bombard Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones with racist and demeaning tweets.

"People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter," a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News. "But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others."

With platforms like Twitter and Facebook having become the de-facto space where people come to voice their opinion and a central axis in world events - think the attack in Nice, the failed coup in Turkey, which effectively took place on Twitter and Facebook - a lot of people lose sight of what these platforms really are: glorified, very large and very popular online forums.

There's no difference between that forum you run for the community of frog statuette collectors you're a part of on the one side, and Twitter on the other. If people on your forum post insulting messages, harass your fellow frog statue collectors, or send in waves of trolls to post racist, hateful, and abusive messages at them, you'd ban them, remove their comments, delete their accounts.

Twitter is no different. Twitter, like your frog statuette collector forum, is a private enterprise, a personal space, where you set the rules regarding what's allowed and what isn't. I do the same here on OSNews. Banning people from your forum, from OSNews, or, indeed, from Twitter, is not a freedom of speech issue. The right to free speech protects you from the government, not from Twitter, forum moderators, or me deleting your hateful comment from OSNews. Or, for that matter, from deleting your perfectly valid and well-argumented comment (which I don't do, but you get the point). Platforms like Twitter may have become a popular forum for expression, but it has no more obligation to "protect" the "right to free speech" than you have the obligation to accept people walking into your house and saying hateful comments to you or your loved ones.

Twitter and Facebook face huge problems with systematic abuse from trolls, and banning this particularly nasty troll is nothing more than lip service to a famous actress and comedian, and it does nothing to address the core problem the platform faces. Twitter might consider spending less time screwing over third party developers and creating nonsense nobody wants, and focus on the real problems many of their real users have to face every single day.

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RE[9]: Baking a cake
by Bobthearch on Fri 22nd Jul 2016 16:29 UTC in reply to "RE[8]: Baking a cake"
Member since:

Depends on what you want to communicate. Many companies have a presence on Twitter as well. It's a cheap public sms service. If the alternatives were sufficient then I doubt Twitter would have all those hundreds of millions of users. People are on twitter because other people are on twitter. That's why all those social media and chat services try to lock you in rather than opening up. There was even an article about that here a month ago or so?

I don't disagree with that. But the facts remain:
* Twitter is a private service.
* No one is dependent on Twitter.
* There are millions of alternatives for online and cellular communication.
* Twitter is not a government agency and therefore Twitter's irregular, inconsistent, unfair, random use of moderation tools is not a Freedom of Speech issue.

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