Can You Stalk and Harrass People on Twitter? Apparently So

Ariel Waldman � Blog Archive � Twitter refuses to uphold Terms of Service

Ariel Waldman, the community manager for Pownce, has a troubling story on her blog about a case of harassment that she faced on Twitter.

According to Waldman, she tried to get Twitter to enforce their TOS (based on Flickr’s) which says that twitter users can’t ““abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate other Twitter users.”

from Ariel:

“The harassment continued throughout the course of 2007. Since Twitter and I had an open dialog started, I would periodically report cases of continuing harassment (some of which spread between Flickr and Twitter). Twitter would take no action while Flickr would immediately ban and remove all traces of the harassment.

Unfortunately, in 2008 it escalated to a level that could no longer be ignored. Tweets were being fired off directly calling me a “cunt” amongst other harassing language.”

In Ariel’s case the harassment on Twitter apparently continues with Ariel citing most recent examples of abuse last month where her harrasser continued to abuse her including her full name and email address attached to words like “crack-whore” and “lesbian porn.”

Waldman says that even after this, Twitter came back and wouldn’t do anything instead stating:

“Apologies for the delay here. We’ve reviewed the matter and decided it’s not in our best interest to get involved. We’ve tasked our lawyers with a full review and update of our TOS.”

While I do think that a site and service should give a wide berth to users to express themselves and am an ardent opponent of censorship, I do think that if a site is going to say that they won’t allow this sort of thing that they probably ought to stick to their TOS and honor it.

Obviously this is one side of what is likely a two sided story, but it’s still too bad to hear about things like this.

Also, even though off site of Twitter I would support anybody’s right to say anything that they wanted, even if it’s critical or offensive, I still think it’s disappointing when people choose to be cruel. And I think that too often when women especially complain about this kind of thing that they get seriously dumped on by anonymous cowards.

Reading through some of the comments on Areil’s blog post on this, “cry more you stupid cunt,” by satan, or “Sorry but I would have to agree with the guy who just called you a stupid cunt,” by mark, it makes you realize how many truly cruel people there are out there. That’s sad.

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