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How twitter fails me in dealing with those it accepts are “hateful” towards me

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 11 March 2021

I am an investigative journalist. Folks involved with frauds or invested in frauds do not like me and so that leads to industrial scale trolling of me. This includes harassment of my family and even death threats – this is one of the two posted on chatrooms this weekend.  There is a lot of chatter about protecting female journalists from harassment or, post Caroline Flack, celebs from being trolled. So how does twitter protect me?


I reported to twitter the other day an account set up using my photo, a name linked to me and branding linked to websites I write for and whose only purpose was spewing out abuse and hatred towards me. The C word was used a lot, I was accused of all sort of financial crimes. It was vile. I normally do not bother with such idiocy but this account was becoming ever more aggressive so, in the current climate of increasing death threats and harassment via late night menacing phone calls, I reported it citing the five most recent tweets. You know what? Twitter agreed that the account was bad. It replied:


This is an update on your report


Thanks again for letting us know. Our investigation found this account violated the Twitter Rules:


Violating our rules against hateful conduct.


We appreciate your help in improving everyone’s experience on Twitter. You can learn more about reporting abusive behavior here.


Ends


So the account is hateful, I assumed that it had been removed. But oh no. It is not as if I am Tom Daly’s husband or a female journalist suffering harassment. The account is still active, still able to tweet and all that has happened is that the five tweets have been removed. Others accusing me of fraud, calling me the C word remain live and the account is free to start tweeting hatred towards me once again.


Surely it would not be too hard for twitter just to close the account which if it is not engaging in hateful behaviour towards me has no point.


Actually I’d go further. I would suggest that twitter changes its rules of usage so that folks accept that if they have their account closed down for hateful behaviour then twitter would report that behaviour, the tweets and the account contact details to the Police in the relevant jurisdiction for harassment. A few prospections from Plod would soon start to make twitter less of a sewer.

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About Tom Winnifrith
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Tom Winnifrith is the editor of TomWinnifrith.com. When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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@TomWinnifrith
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