Twitter admits ‘mistakes’ after correct abuses – 12/05/2021

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WASHINGTON, December 5, 2021 (AFP) — Twitter’s new policy banning the sharing of private images of other people without consent is aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers have warned far-right supporters That they use it to protect their opponents from being investigated and harassed.

The social network even admitted that its implementation of the rules, according to which anyone can ask Twitter to remove their posted images without consent, was hampered by malicious reports and mistakes by its own employees. .

Exactly the same problem that plagued anti-racism advocates this week after the policy was announced.

Their concerns were quickly validated with a screenshot showing a far-right message circulated on Telegram by ultra-extremist researcher Christopher Goldsmith: “Due to Twitter’s new privacy policy, things now work, unexpectedly, in our favour.”

“Anyone with a Twitter account should report ‘doxing’ posts from the following users,” read the printable message, citing dozens of Twitter accounts.

Doxxing, the act of posting someone’s personal details online so that they could be harassed, took them by storm, while activists who posted the information also faced threats and harassment.

Gwen Snyder, a researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a series of photos she posted in 2019 reported on Twitter that she said she had targeted a local candidate from the far-right group Proud. Shown at a march organized by the Boys.

Instead of appealing, he opted to erase the images and tell them what was happening.

“To mobilize Twitter to remove (my) work from its platform is incredibly dangerous and will enable and strengthen fascists,” Snyder told AFP.

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– “Many mistakes” – In announcing the privacy policy on Tuesday, Twitter noted that sharing personal images and videos “could potentially violate an individual’s privacy and cause emotional and psychological harm.”

But the rules “do not apply to public figures or individuals when the media and accompanying tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

On Friday, Twitter acknowledged: “We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reporting and unfortunately our teams made many mistakes.”

“We have corrected these errors and are conducting an internal review to ensure that this policy is used as intended,” he continued.

However, Los Angeles-based activist and researcher Chad Loader said his account was permanently blocked after publicly recorded footage of anti-vaccination protests and reports of clashes outside the home of a former Vice journalist.

For Lauder, the condemnation of the far right is just the tip of the iceberg of a “sustained and concerted effort” to eliminate evidence of their “crimes”.

Experts say Twitter’s new rules sound like a well-intentioned idea but are incredibly complicated to implement.

One reason is that the platform has become an important platform for identifying people involved in far-right and hate groups, in which spies are posting their names and other information.

Announced a day after Parag Agarwal took over as Twitter’s CEO, replacing Jack Dorsey, the new rules touch on issues that may be outside the platform’s control.

“These are issues that are likely to be resolved in our courts,” said Betsy Page Sigman, professor emeritus at Georgetown University.

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“I’m not optimistic about Twitter’s changes,” he concluded.

JM / JFX / ATM / LM / LDA / MR

About the author: Sarah Gracie

Sarahis a reporter covering Amazon. She previously covered tech and transportation, and she broke stories on Uber's finances, self-driving car program, and cultural crisis. Before that, she covered cybersecurity in finance. Sarah's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Politico, and the Houston Chronicle.

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