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[liberationtech] liberationtech Digest, Vol 115, Issue 3

Catherine Fitzpatrick catfitz at
Wed Aug 1 15:37:22 PDT 2012

 From: "liberationtech-request at" <liberationtech-request at>
To: liberationtech at 

   1. Re: Independent UK Critic of NBC has Twitter account
      suspended after network complains 
All of this endless literalist parsing of whether you can or cannot find the NBC executive's
email easily through Google or not is losing sight of the bigger picture of why Twitter or any
social media platform would have a policy about not publicizing personal information -- *so 
as not to subject people to harassment*. THAT is the point. We all realize that if you
dredge through Google using tricks like trying variations of a person's name and their known
company domain, you can likely hit on their email, or it might show up in a conference list or
something in search and technically "be there". So what?

The point is, this email was *not* put on a public web page for the public to contact with complaints.
So it's not fair game. Adams is behaving like a common Anonymous script kiddie trying to incite
"The Internet" to flashmob this executive he believes responsible for a policy he doesn't like (remember
when Anonymous went after A&T executives like that when they thought AT&T was responsible for
taking 4chan down?)

That's just infantile. There's no need to harass somebody in person or even crash their mail server --
there are other avenues such as petition-writing or contacting the customer service public-facing

There's that -- and then there's the entitlement-happy craze for instant on-demand Internet entertainment
without regard for how companies are supposed to make money. If NBC delays their airing of sports
until prime time, it's because they can sell ads better that way. What's the plan for them making money
off a live Internet stream? Most Internet ads don't make return as broadcast media ads -- it's a real problem
for how the media will survive. The notion that "loads of people show up at prime time anyway" or "only
some geeks know how to tunnel with VPN" just aren't valid arguments -- if people show up anyway, it 
may not be for long once the means of circumvention spread, and it isn't just a few people anyway. Indeed,
people like Adams think they can organize crowds by inciting Twitter.

Finally, there's the question of journalism. Since when does a journalist also get to consider himself a 
professional, and also incite flashmob protests on the Internet? Oh, since social media made it "ok"
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