The Latest Front In Twitter’s War On Harassment: Weird Twitter – BuzzFeed News


CK MacLeod

WordPresser: Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001.

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    This gets at what I was saying in the last Twitter thread about the importance and difficulty of the balance between free speech and dealing with harassment/abuse.

    It does seem like Twitter could take a fairly objective approach to this using network analysis, with a manual review for recalcitrant (from a modeling perspective) cases. The gist of the approach would, it seem, be to focus on the length of an engagement and the extent to which it propagates through a network. The Weird Twitter folks who make silly death threats aren’t going to inspire their thousands of followers to do the same, whereas the Charles Johnsons of the world will so inspire their followers when they do, and this should be pretty easy to see in data that should be readily available to Twitter. And a serial abuser/harasser will tend to either get multiple complaints from the same user or a few complaints from multiple users for different Tweets. So when someone reports a death threat, Twitter looks at the data, and if it’s clear that this is a one off that didn’t spawn imitators, then as long as it doesn’t become a persistent thing, it’s probably not worth a second lookReport

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

      The Weird Twitter folks who make silly death threats aren’t going to inspire their thousands of followers to do the same

      IANATWOO (I Am Not A Twitterer, Weird Or Otherwise) but I am not so sure of this. See the whole “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer” meme. It’s totally stupid, and nobody actually believes it, but could Ted Cruz claim he’s being harassed, each time someone retweets that nonsense? Or tweets at him “We know what you did, you better watch out” (I imagine a few people have)? Maybe it hasn’t happened yet, but I can see some shock jock whipping up some stunt like this.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        I imagine the Weird Twitter folks get retweeted a lot, even when they make outrageous threats. However, I’m thinking less of retweets than of independent threats.

        By comparison, what would happen when McCain or Johnson or Milo doxxed people or even threatened people is that their minions started @’ing the targeted people, sometimes relentlessly, with threats or other harassment. I assume Twitter has the data to easily distinguish this sort of thing: where 5,000 people who follow one account start tweeting @ another account independently vs those same 5,000 people retweeting a tweet from the one account they all follow.Report

  2. I consider the fact that making death and rape threats ironically now risks capital punishment (i.e being banned from posting on Twitter under the same name) to be the most serious free speech issue in the world today.Report