Del Williams

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Twitter is a Haven for Trolls

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Every now and then I make a controversial statement on one of my social media platforms. Most often it is in response to something I have read on that platform or during my reading elsewhere.

The one thing I can count on is that people who don't me will jump into the issue and have guns blazing. Usually in their first tweet I am called out of my name, and in some rare instances, the "N" words gets tossed in for good measure.

What I have a difficult time wrapping my head around is the thought that some people have that anyone who disagrees with them should be abused verbally. In some cases, trolls have done outrageous things to silence people, up to and including death threats.

Sadly on some social media sites you will get no help. Twitter, for example, is against silencing any voices of opposition, but they take it to the extreme. They allow trolls to have a space and tell their victims "oh well." One example is when trolls set their site on Charlotte Dawson of Australia's Next Top Model, by sending HUNDREDS of tweets to her telling her to kill herself, Twitter refused to help the authorities. You see, it wasn't a threat, so their actions were within the terms of service, even if they were outside the bounds of human decency.

Studies have shown that people behave in ways online that they would not do in person. The typical troll on Twitter has less than 100 followers, opened their account within the past three months, and generally spam people they do not know. So, if I know these things, Twitter does as well, and should be able to close those accounts.

The other problem is people on Twitter only have two options, either to block or report as spam. In the case of Charlotte Dawson, there was no effective way to block the amount of offensive tweets she received. So, what is the solution? Twitter needs to add more options, so real trolls cannot be allowed to spew their hate to more unsuspecting victims. How many people should have to endure abuse because Twitter THINKS it falls within their terms of service.

They have closed accounts for far less, but in cases of real abuse they refuse to act. Something is wrong with that.

 

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