You would think that Twitter's programmers could design a user-controlled "block" button and be done with it... but no.
Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, announced via the Financial Times (FT) on Wednesday that "Twitter is preparing to introduce new measures to reduce the visibility of 'hate speech' or 'trolling' on the site."
In a gag-me-with-a-Smartphone moment, FT described Costolo as becoming "visibly emotional" as he grapples with the never-ending problem of stopping the "'horrifying' abuse" while simultaneously allowing the tweets to "flow."
Has Costolo never heard the saying: "Sticks and stones...?"
Common sense dictates that anyone grown-up enough to use social media is also grown-up enough to know how to handle themselves in difficult social situations.
Likewise, self-defense against hate-speech-wielding "cyber-bullies" becomes possible — even delightful — when one has the proper tools (eg. the previously-mentioned "block" button) with which to defend oneself.
But, common sense aside... Twitter is teetering into the cyber-nannyish realm of state-sponsored censorship, because... um... why again?
Because they can?
Or because there's a deeper agenda?
“How do you make sure you are both emboldening people to speak politically but making it OK to be on the platform [sic] and not endure all this hate speech?” said Costolo to FT.
It's simple, Costolo: You don't.
Just as the "Fairness Doctrine" was never fair...
[quote][i]"The fairness doctrine is basically a requirement that whenever a TV station covers a controversial topic, it's required, by law, to give equal time to a 'response.' This, some people think, makes the coverage 'fair.' It does not. All it does is presume that there are two, and only two, sides to any issue -- and that people are too stupid to figure out that some stuff you see on TV may not tell you the whole story.
"Usually, it's pushed by some group that feels 'its side' isn't getting enough attention... Yet, these days, when anyone can 'broadcast' any content they want, there's even less of a need for a fairness doctrine on TV. It's a restriction on speech, by determining what a TV show needs to include in a report. That's not fair at all."
— Mike Masnick, "Once More, With Feeling: The Fairness Doctrine Is Not Fair, Nor Is It Needed"[/i][/quote]
Though the faux/twin concepts of "hate speech" / "cyber-bullying" are generally sold to the public as a means of protecting the weak and the innocent, the real agenda can usually be found just below the surface and/or in the way the law is actually applied.
New York's pending Internet Protection Act (IPA) is a perfect example of this and, as it turns out, one doesn't have to dig too far to find the truth.
[quote][i]"Originally authored by New York District 10 Assemblyman Jim Conte, the primary goal of the [IPA] is to thwart cyber bullying....
But Conte's bill doesn't stop at cyberbullying. In addition to its underage-stalking aspect, the IPA also includes language that aims to protect elected officials from 'mean spirited and baseless political attacks.' (An arguably thought provoking addition considering that Conte was quoted as attributing New York’s near Republican sweep in the 2010 elections to the fact that his party had 'had no scandals and [were] getting the job done.' Generally speaking, the public can’t know about any scandals if none are broached — and the first step to making sure that happens is enacting semi-Draconian Internet conduct laws.)"
— Kelly/Warner Internet Law and Defamation Practice, "Another Misguided Cyberbully Legislation Attempt?"[/i][/quote]
With that in mind, Twitter's brilliant "new" idea for protecting delicate cyber-feelings at the expense of free speech... needs to be slam-dumped into the cylindrical "Thinking of ways to shut people up" file, posthaste.
(Shout out to Inquirer writer, Dave Neal, for putting it so succinctly).