Comment - In May 2012 we told you of a 'historic' agreement reached at a meeting of the Internet Task-force of the the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (Including all hate crime). Well Twitter, who were amongst the participants in Palo Alto have responded. This is a really positive sign of a willingness for key industry groups to seek solutions that balance free speech with protection from hate crime.
29 June, 2012
The Twitter micro blog service is taking measures to fight racism and trolling on the platform. Abusive comments will be hidden. The company’s Chief executive Dick Costolo told the Financial Times that the scale of hate speech, abusive and insulting messages is intimidating.
Twitter will fight trollers and hate instigators by hiding their messages if their accounts have no followers, user information or user picture. Measures are being introduced after the British police initiated an investigation into racist messages against English football team players, who lost to the Italians on Sunday in the quarterfinals of Euro 2012, the BBC reports.
Despite the difficulties with abusive and racist speech Twitter executives believe it is crucial for the service to maintain freedom of speech. Thus they will still allow pseudonyms.
"The reason we want to allow pseudonyms is there are lots of places in the world where it's the only way you'd be able to speak freely," Dick Costolo is quoted as saying. "The flip side of that is it also emboldens these trolls… How do you make sure you are both emboldening people to speak politically but making it OK to be on the platform and not endure all this hate speech? It's very frustrating."
Abuse in Twitter has provoked complaints from many celebrities, sportsmen among them.
Hate speech in Twitter has already brought some to justice. In March a court in England convicted student Liam Stacey for his racist Twitter post about footballer Fabrice Muamba.