Tags: Facebook

Is the policing of social media fair?

Firstly some context:

Last night I went to a meeting of Westminster Skeptics (is meeting the right word? Should it be event, or session?) that concentrated on social media and abuse thereof. The panel was made up of various people who had either blogged anonymously and had been outed, people who had outed anonymous bloggers who had nefarious agendas or had some other links to social media and the law (twitter links at the bottom).

One of the things that was mentioned quite a lot was how people (in one form or another) had received appalling threats of rape, death and so on. In response to this, Richard Horton (aka Nightjack) quite calmly stated that there just wasn’t the capacity in the police force to deal with all these complaints.

So that’s the back story, albeit a bit long winded. Anyway, this got me thinking and I was going to ask this question but unfortunately there wasn’t time (I was beaten to the last question by the awesome Juliet Jacques, so no hardship there):

How come your “average” blogger can get death threats and abuse and the police can’t or won’t do anything about it, but when Tom Daley gets abuse the perpetrator gets a visit from the police the next morning?

Is it even fair that he almost gets special priority? Some might say that because he is representing his country and because he is a celebrity blah blah, but I would consider each of the people on the panel last night to be more of a celebrity than Mr Daley.

I don’t think there is an answer to this, and whilst the companies that run the platforms that allow this abuse to take place continue to take little or no interest in moderating their communities then why should the police? And don’t even get me started on jurisdiction (although I may write on this at some point in the future).

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Panel:

Paul Chambers (@pauljchambers)
Richard Horton (@iofiv)
Tim Ireland (@bloggerheads)
Peter Ede (@PME200)
Helen Lewis (@helenlewis)
Zoe Margolis (@girlonetrack)