Does Twitter have a social responsibility?

In response to the Daily Telegraph’s Stop The Trolls campaign and growing community concern regarding online trolling Twitter has agreed to assist police in investigating threats made on their social media platform.

The Daily Telegraph’s Stop The Trolls campaign was launched after a series of cyber bullying attacks were made against a number of high profile people.  Well known footballer Robbie Farah was forced to call in police after a torrent of vile comments were made about his dead mother.  Charlotte Dawson was similarly the subject of abusive tweets from trolls after she attempted to make a stand against one particularly vicious troll.

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter give people a platform to communicate on.  They are not censored and encourage people to post their thoughts and opinions, vent their spleen and communicate with people (strangers) across the globe.  As discussed in some of our previous blogs the downside of these platforms is that they happen to be a breeding ground for trolls.  If only we could just sweep this issue (and those pesky trolls) under the bridge.

When trolling becomes particularly vicious, abusive or threatening it is sometimes necessary for people to contact the police and request they investigate and hold the troll accountable.  The anonymous nature of social networking platforms makes it hard for the everyday person to track down trolls and hold them accountable.  Until today’s announcement from Twitter it was also difficult for police to find the identity of trolls.  After extensive negotiations between Twitter and the Federal Police Twitter has agreed to ensure a much more streamlined process for law enforcement authorities investigating violent behaviour on its site and work with the government to promote awareness about how to block and report trolls.

Some people would argue that agreeing to assist police in recognising trolls real identities and holding them accountable goes against the nature and values of the platform.  To this Twitter has said that they recognise they have a social responsibility and do not tolerate abusive behaviour.  What do you think?

JT

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One response to “Does Twitter have a social responsibility?

  1. I think this is a tricky issue . In the end i think its best not to invovle twitter. Because if twitter is seen to be meddling, people will start leaving the platform and it will be even harder to find and fight the trolls. Best to leave it to the authorities.

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