That is an archived link to a Wired article titled: 6 Experts on How Silicon Valley Can Solve Online Harassment. First off, you can’t solve it. You can try and maybe minimize it. You can build tools to help protect people from it. But you can’t solve it. The reason is simple. People are dicks. Since the internet is made up of people, they were always be dicks and trolls. It’s a reality we all have to deal with.
Online harassment sucks and it happens. Unfortunately, it seems we have our worst minds on the job. There is one particular part that I want to highlight in this article however.
wired: What responsibility do platforms have to their users in terms of protecting them from abuse?
(Adria) Richards: After a threat, I reached out to someone at a social media company. They connected me to one of their security people. I emailed them, saying, “I’m very concerned I’m going to be murdered in the next two weeks.” They asked me to file a ticket, so I did. I didn’t hear back. So I got another name to contact and sent a similar email to someone else. They also asked me to file a ticket. Thankfully I’m still here, so I wasn’t murdered. Yay.
There are two possibilities here. Either she is being disingenuous or she is beyond stupid. This is pretty much all she says on this anecdote. I keep reading this, looking for a particular word. Maybe you can guess which word is missing from this story. Something a sensible person would do. The word I’m looking for is “police.”
Look, let me give you a nickel’s worth of free advice. If you are being stalked or harassed online, and you are very concerned about being murdered in the next two weeks, then CALL THE FUCKING POLICE! Do you seriously want to leave your life in the hands of fucking Twitter?
Adria, allow me to explain something to you. The police can arrest people and put them in jail, (thankfully) Twitter and Facebook can’t.
The first sentence in this should have read:
After a threat, I first called the police AND THEN reached out to someone at a social media company.
Do you see how much more reasonable and less stupid that makes Adria look? There is no follow up question from Wired. This is typical Listen and Believe bullshit. Any person with the slightest bit of sense rattling in their head would have immediately asked: Did you call the police?
I honestly don’t know if Adria called the police or not. If she did, you’d think she would have mentioned it in her anecdote. I’m sure the social media representatives asked her if she called the police. That would be the prudent thing to do if someone is threatening you to the point where you are fearing for your safety.
I have another question.
If online harassment is a serious threat to the safety and well being of people, then why are they looking at tech companies for solutions instead looking for legal ones?
Probably because what they consider harassment and abuse doesn’t meet the legal definition. One of the experts was Anita Sarkeesian, someone who considers criticism abuse. Anita is at the forefront of a movement to change the meaning of abuse because people calling her a liar on twitter makes her feel bad. She wants a safe space where she can spew her bullshit out to the world without being called on it or having to actually defend it.
In a jaw dropping display of egotistical cowardice, Anita Sarkeesian begged the patriarchal United Nations to censor the internet on her behalf. Yes, she had a platform to speak to the UN about feminist issues, did she use the opportunity to call out Saudi Arabia on their horrid human rights violations? How girls are having acid thrown in their faces for trying to go school and get an education? No. She chose to be selfish and make herself the center of the world.
Sorry little girl, you have stay disfigured and uneducated because Anita Sarkeesian is being called a liar on the internet. Her being criticized for bitching about Princess Peach is just so goddamn important. But don’t worry, you got those snazzy veils to cover your face with. So, you’re good! Now why don’t you get on Twitter and start a hashtag to show your support of poor, oppressed Anita Sarkeesian. She can really use your disfigured and uneducated support right now, little girl.
Anita Sarkeesian is what you would call a dangerous idiot. If she got her wish and the U.N. was able to police and censor the internet, who would be put in charge? It would be China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. The three most brutally repressive regimes in the world today. She would sacrifice the very free speech that she benefits from to allow a country like Russia or Saudi Arabia to dictate the information available to be accessed on the world’s internet.
What Wired wants is not the end of online harassment, as that is a legal and police matter.
The reason they are going after the tech companies is because they want the social media companies to censor the speech that they don’t like. These people are petty, thin skinned and weak. They don’t like criticism or debate so they seek to eliminate it from the social media they want to use.
They want to engage with society without accepting any of the responsibility and risk that comes with it.
So, what responsibility do the social media companies have to protect its users from abuse?
Some. They can help protect users from doxxing by not harvesting and storing data to be sold to advertisers. They can protect anonymity. They can protect their data banks from hackers. These are things they can do.
But ultimately its going to be a legal issue. Do police have the resources and training to properly investigate online harassment? There is a question. A responsible question. The justice system is going to be around a lot longer than Twitter or Facebook.
Maybe there is a free market solution. If you are an expert in this field and want a social media platform that is safer for everyone, then maybe you can build it yourself.
Oh, who am I kidding. That would involve them actually doing something instead of sitting around a table while Wired blows smoke up their asses.