Today In Twitterverse: Harassment

Ariel Waldman has a problem with Twitter.

The reality of Twitter is that they refuse to warn and/or ban people who use their service to “abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate other Twitter users” (to quote their forth line item on their TOS page). What does this mean? In short, anyone can use Twitter to consistently harass you and ruin search results for your identity and Twitter won’t execute any means of community management.
In June 2007, I unfortunately found myself on the receiving end of multiple accounts of harassment from a user on Twitter.

Caroline McCarthy, who writes The Social on c|net says Waldman is hardly the average Twitter user.

Well-known in geek circles, she’s a “social media insights consultant” who contributes to tech blog Engadget and runs her own site, Shake Well Before Use, about “art, advertising, sex and technology.” In other words, in the bubble-like culture of Web 2.0, Waldman is a sort of celebrity–and with celebrity comes scrutiny and often ugly commentary.
Waldman, who could not immediately be reached for comment, also works as the community manager at Pownce, one of Twitter’s few rivals in the microblogging space, giving her a bit of a conflict of interest in the issue.

Biz Stone of Twitter says, “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.”
[UPDATE] Violet Blue defends her friend.

I’m a veteran of some pretty extreme web stalking: threats (2 days ago some guy emailed promising to publicly attack me for the rest of his life), Wikipedia attacks (and attempting to out my bf’s personal information on the Wiki talk page), email death threats, Flickr system abuse, and Twitter harassment. The surprise to me has been that in the real world, the SFPD has taken my cyberstalking way more seriously than any of these online services. Of course they have. The police have experience with this kind of terror and abuse, when dot-com startup dweebs with piles of funding do not. And that’s the wake-up call. The SFPD has treated my emails, my printed files of stalking and harassment, and even things they don’t fully understand like Twitter — as seriously as they would real-life stalkers.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.