Does free speech give us the right to anonymously troll strangers? What people say online has real consequences. They may end up in prison. They may be named and shamed, and this may be enough to make them suicidal.
The non-profit advocacy organization Women, Action, and the Media (Wam) has partnered with Twitter to tackle online harassment of women, which it says is occurring on an unprecedented scale. Following a Pew study that showed 26% of women aged between 18 and 24 have been stalked online and 25% have been targets of online sexual harassment, Wam has created a comprehensive but easy-to-use form, through which users can report harassments and threats that will then be escalated to Twitter.
The Guardian mentions Charles Lister's recent report, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute thinktank, which found social media to be one of the key organisational strengths of Isis. It used outlets such as Twitter “to spread and legitimise Islamic State’s ideology, activities, and objectives, and to recruit and acquire international support”.
Twitter closed dozens of accounts linked to Isis jihadists earlier this year. They had been used to boast of victories in Syria and Iraq and threaten US forces and post grisly images of executed hostages.
A Russian agency that regulates media said on Tuesday the micro-blogging site Twitter had refused 108 requests for account information and was "consistently not satisfying the requirements of the Russian law", the state-run news agency TASS reported.
Twitter said on Monday Russia had requested content be removed 91 times between July and December, the second-largest number after Turkey. It said it had complied with 13 percent of the Russian requests but denied several demands to silence Kremlin critics.
Moscow has tightened Internet controls since opposition activists made use of social media to organise mass protests against President Vladimir Putin in 2011 and 2012.
A Paris court has ruled that it has the legal authority to judge a case against Facebook, which blocked the account of a French teacher who posted an image of a vulva.
The court ruled that the case came under its jurisdiction and Facebook’s clause forcing all users to agree that any litigation must be based in California, where the site is based, was “abusive”.
Facebook is being sued by a French man whose account was blocked after he posted a 19th-century picture by Gustave Courbet, The Origin of the World, depicting a vulva.
Social media users who persistently spread racial hatred online should be given “internet asbos” blocking them from sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to an MPs’ report that examines the rising levels of antisemitism in Britain.
The Crown Prosecution Service has been asked by the all-party parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism to examine whether prevention orders, similar to those used to restrict sex offenders’ online access, could be applied to hate crimes.
The MPs suggested the orders could be imposed to bar determined perpetrators from social media.