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[liberationtech] Independent UK Critic of NBC has Twitter account suspended after network complains

Simon Phipps webmink at gmail.com
Tue Jul 31 13:47:11 PDT 2012


Where is Zenkel's e-mail on that page? I've yet to see a report that substantiates it was easy to locate on the web prior to this incident.

But more to the point, Twitter appears to be coming clean here. Their policy says a bona fides complaint is met with preventative suspension, followed by reinstatement after review and, if necessary, assurances. For an organisation dealing with approximately infinite transaction levels, that seems about the only workable policy.

In this case they assert that their NBC-attached team acted incorrectly by proactively reviewing traffic. They also imply that, had the Trust and Safety team been advised how the complaint arose, they would likely have acted differently. They have apologised for what they did wrong, left themselves free to continue to follow their (probably correct) policy and avoided commenting on the journalist's actual (borderline) behaviour.

Since I don't see it in the thread below, here's Twitter's apology, which is worth reading & re-reading to get the implications as well as the details:
http://blog.twitter.com/2012/07/our-approach-to-trust-safety-and.html

S.


On 31 Jul 2012, at 21:24, Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb wrote:

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> 
> Hi Jillian,
> 
> Thanks for explaining the details. Pardon my language but...FFS. This is disgraceful.
> 
> Adams used publicly available information like this: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/gary-zenkel/3/569/126 and Twitter closed his account?
> 
> In which case, if I were Adams, I would release my legal attack hounds, and sue Twitter under what ever legislation they could.  Anyone from the EFF Legal want to comment?
> 
> That is disgraceful. Another example of why I believe Twitters self-censorship "internal struggle" earlier this year was an easy out for them.
> 
> I hope Adams doesn't take the usual "we're sorry" excuse thats trotted out.
> 
> Bernard
> 
> On 31 Jul 2012, at 16:13, Jillian C. York wrote:
> 
>> Bernard,
>> 
>> Twitter's explanation was not that the statement was defamatory, but that Adams had posted private information.  The email address he posted, however, is not private: it is available on NBC.com.  That's the entire case.
>> 
>> -Jillian
>> 
>> On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 1:39 AM, Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb <ei8fdb at ei8fdb.org> wrote:
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>> 
>> (Slightly devil's advocate/contrarian POV)
>> 
>> Interesting story, and Adams probably has a case but it never ceases to amaze me when people disconnect their "real world" brains from their "Internet" brains.
>> 
>> I would be the first person to complain if someone's free-speech was taken away, however, if Adams has said anything defamatory in his Twitter stream, then he is still bound by "real world" laws.
>> 
>> Just because I say something defamatory or libellous about person X on the Internet, doesn't mean that *IF* it's found that a "real-world" legal process cannot be executed.
>> 
>> Most people using the Internet may not understand that, but I would have expected journalists to understand it.
>> 
>> Is it illegal to suspend someones services for naming an executive of a media company for doing XYZ in the USA? I have no idea.
>> 
>> If it is illegal, then people need to speak out against a ridiculously brain-dead law.
>> 
>> If it is not illegal, people need to complain to Twitter for freedom of speech. Twitter need to rewind their equally brain-dead actions and apologise to the guy.
>> 
>> Now, if he has said nothing "illegal" on Twitter, then IMHO, fire up the legal drones Guy. This I unfortunately have direct experience of. At this point it becomes (certainly in parts of Europe) a case of "who's got the bigger legal team".
>> 
>> (My reasoning comes from Bruce Schneier's argument on laws specific to "cybercrimes". To paraphrase "Prosecution can be difficult in cyberspace. On one hand the crimes are the same.....The laws against certain practices, complete with criminal justice infrastructure to enforce them, are already in place....Fraud is fraud, whether it takes place over the US mail or the Internet.")
>> 
>> 
>> On 31 Jul 2012, at 00:17, David Johnson wrote:
>> 
>>> 
>>> http://sports.yahoo.com/news/olympics--critic-of-nbc-has-twitter-account-suspended-after-network-complains.html
>>> 
>>> --
>>> David V. Johnson
>>> Web Editor
>>> Boston Review
>>> Website: http://www.bostonreview.net
>>> 
>>> Twitter:
>>> http://twitter.com/BostonReview
>>> Tumblr: http://bostonreview.tumblr.com
>>> 
>>> Cell: (917)903-3706
>>> 




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