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Twitter Clampdown Could Impede Anonymous Tweets 93

judgecorp writes "Twitter is going to clamp down on abuse and 'trolling' according to its CEO Dick Costolo. Actions could include hiding replies from users who do not have any followers or biographical information. The difficulty is that moves to stop trolling could also curtail the anonymous Tweets which have been useful for protest in repressive regimes."
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Twitter Clampdown Could Impede Anonymous Tweets

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  • Seems Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beardydog ( 716221 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @06:35PM (#40512709)
    Adding censorship tools could aid censorship? I would guess that what's considered trolling if it's done to a comgressperson's feed is considered noble dissent it's done to a dictator who has suddenly lost popularity in the west. Will Twitter have an emal address to which one can apply for the "noble dissent" waiver?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Too bad we can't stop troll posts on Slashdot. Do you realize that instead of anonymous tweets, you can simply register a dummy account in 60 seconds and tweet whatever you want "anonymously" and that it has nothing to do with censorship whatsoever, nor would they ever EVER censor tweets based on political content.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        and no one will see those tweets as the twitter search sucks.

      • Re:Seems Obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:32PM (#40512989)

        "you can simply register a dummy account in 60 seconds and tweet whatever you want "anonymously"

        So you can create a dozen that follow each other in 12 minutes thereby circumventing this idiotic measure?

        • Costolo IS an idiot, and so is most of his team apparently. What did you expect from him?

          I kind of thought Jack Dorsey had a clue. Either he really doesn't or he is getting outvoted by Costolo and the board.

          I thought it was pure awesomness when Brett Taylor, Facebook's CTO, resigned almost precisely 2 weeks before Zuckerberg went ape shit and started changing everyones email addresses to without their knowledge or permission. I imagine Brett's stock was vested and he still got rich on his wa

      • Re:Seems Obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:35PM (#40513015)
        Considering from the moderators here that "troll" means "any post I don't agree with", you need to understand why this is such a bad idea. What is a troll, exactly? Concrete, objective definition please.
        • Re:Seems Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sco08y ( 615665 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:39PM (#40513493)

          Considering from the moderators here that "troll" means "any post I don't agree with", you need to understand why this is such a bad idea. What is a troll, exactly? Concrete, objective definition please.

          I remember back in the day on some smaller boards when trolling had a pretty specific meaning: it meant someone who was probably mentally disturbed who would routinely hurl invective at people on a board, try to set up arguments between people, and such.

          Years ago on /., trolls were a specific group of people who just liked to fuck with people. They'd cook up certain irrelevant posts that would get a lot of angry comments, or they'd do stuff to wreck the layout of the page, or just post bizarre stories or whatever.

          But now, trolling has lost its meaning because it's become ubiquitous... it's gotten to the point where someone says something stupid, you point it out, and they claim that they were trolling you. /. just needs to update its mod labels to reflect the way the terms have changed in meaning. But whether it's through "troll" or "flamebait", I know that people across the ideological divide from me are promoting people they agree with, and suppressing people who agree with me, so I'm forced to do the same to balance it out.

        • Re:Seems Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:41PM (#40513505) Journal

          A troll is someone you may disagree with, but not always. I know people who troll and get all sorts of +5 Insightful. Those are troll that many agree with, but they are trolls none the less.

          A troll is a stupid comment designed to illicit a emotional response. I know I've got plenty of "troll" mods for things I've said that weren't meant to be "troll" posts. SImply saying "Troll" meaning "I disagree" is in itself a troll.

          Name Calling is trollish (___ is stupid). So are out of context random quotes (GNAA). Most Sexual comments (unless in a related topic) are troll posts. Any post that has a sole purpose of inciting a FLAME WAR is a troll (PCs Rule!!).

          • by dargaud ( 518470 )

            Any post that has a sole purpose of inciting a FLAME WAR is a troll

            Wouldn't that be flamebait ?

            • It is. At least, everywhere else I've ever been on the Internet in the past 20 odd years they're the same. Since flaming is universally frowned upon, however, the most common response to a troll is more trolling, rather than old-fashioned flaming.

              SlashDot is the only place that actually tries to make a distinction -- and fails to, because it's never defined or not defined anyplace I know of.

            • flamebait is when its an honest but flamboyant opinion. e.g. I hate macs/linux/microsoft because.

              A troll almost never believes the opinion he spews. Its a set up. its from the fishing term when you slowly motor a boat down the river with the line out, looking to agitate some fishies into biting your line.

              A flamebaiter generally seeks to engage and fight the flamewar he starts. I troll pulls the pin, runs, mostly for the humor if it all. Trolling is considered a dark form of humor, its satire and farce packe
            • Flamebait is a subset of Troll IMHO. But yeah that is Flamebait.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If the owners of a private technology like Twitter decide they should do something about the 'abuse' of their system, so be it. Hopefully they aren't hobbling its usefulness. I'm sure they're aware of the problem.

      Perhaps it's better to allow users the ability to set their own levels of counter-community communications, and let the trolls continue to inhabit the dark spaces under the bridge. We all know they're there, and they need a place to lurk, otherwise they'll be tempted to come out into the light wher

  • by Anonymous Coward

    aka "useful when the west sees the chance of insurrection and wants to ramp up the propaganda so it can install a new reactionary and cooperative government".

    Revolutions don't happen on Twitter, no matter how much the lazy want to think they're suddenly enfranchised. Revolutions only happen in the corridors of power and, more rarely, on the street.

    • by Zorque ( 894011 )

      I wonder what a good way to organize one of those street revolutions would be in this modern age. It would preferably be online, and of course it would have to allow anonymity. Maybe a service which allows people to subscribe to and receive updates from others. Perhaps it could even be updated via SMS! Somebody ought to create a service like that.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Twitter is a private enterprise, not a public service. They have every right to decide what they will publish.

    • by ThatsMyNick ( 2004126 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:10PM (#40512877)

      But people do have the right to voice their displeasure and hope for (or start) a new service that does not have these flaws.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:19PM (#40512917)

      Twitter is a private enterprise, not a public service. They have every right to decide what they will publish.

      While legally there is some truth here, this is quite possibly the most pointless thing ever said about Twitter.

      In case you were new to this whole Twitter thing and how it works, "Ain't Nobody's Business" is in the business of making every damn thing everyone's business, via a public service that is free to use by anyone.

      One can argue the legalities of private vs. public all damn day long, but there is no denying what Twitter is, or more importantly, what people have come to expect from Twitter, and censorship isn't one of them.

      I don't predict a good outcome from this. This policy may stop trolling alright, but Twitter dying a horrible death due to censorship probably wasn't the troll solution they were going for.

    • but you disproved your point deeply by saying that

      among a certain set, it is attractive to privatize everything

      of course, in industries with a network effect (electricity, cable, telephone) and huge startup costs (power plants, car manufacturing) the effect is that a few large players dominate, an oligarchy. this is true of google and twitter and facebook as well

      an oligarchy is not the same thing as a free market where consumers can easily and freely switch providers

      this being true, there is no easy and obvious alternative. if i dislike the sandwich my deli made me, i can walk down a block to another deli. but there is no other twitter. well, there is, but, the network effect being what it is, it's like saying i'm going to drop verizon and take up cardboard cups on strings

      so, in response to your comment, i say this: for fields dominated by a few large players, the government has the right, in your name, to regulate those players as if they were part of your government, and that it is not at all illogical to say that rights you hold your government to, such as free speech, be imposed on the private enterprise, because it is, after all, basically serving a public interest with no real competitors

      you can't have it both ways: either the situation is truly like a free market, or it is like a government service. you can't point at an oligarchy and a monopoly and say the rules of walking down the street to another deli applies. there are no other choices, it's not really a free market

      just because you privatized a service to a few huge players is not the same thing as a free market. you're just playing silly games because you believe capitalism is some sort of religion that answers all things, when it clearly doesn't

      • it's like saying i'm going to drop verizon and take up cardboard cups on strings

        Why does you wanting faster downloads factor into this?

  • I don't know how serious this threat is about "curtailing the anonymous Tweets which have been useful for protest in repressive regimes" But what twitter does need to block is the high amount of spam that is all so predictable...I can't believe twitter has not yet fixed it as the algorithm seems to be so simple to get rid of vast majority of it: 1) A person I do not follow "mentions me" i.e. Free iPhone here @chentiangemalc 2) This person has 0 followers, and usually also does not follow anyone else 3) Th
    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      You are right in that the system is inherently wrong, but instead of fixing they just try to patch it.

  • by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @06:54PM (#40512807)
    The example given is ridiculous on its face. Biographical information can easily be faked-- a lot of the bots I've encountered swipe photos from Facebook and personals sites. Requiring a certain number of people to follow you, before you can... what? The only people this really hurts are newbies to the service. If you can automate creating an account, you can automate getting accounts to follow one another.
  • Because the idea that world has been built for you personally so as to never give you an uncomfortable moment is a bit silly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:06PM (#40512863)

    Since we didn't like what some individuals were saying in our "web 2.0" model we are now turning it into solely a broadcast medium for celebrities to promote their projects and plug their endorsements, and the "popular" to spew their random 140 character thought fragments that nobody with a brain cares about in the first place.

    What could go wrong?

  • by JazzXP ( 770338 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @07:33PM (#40513001) Homepage
    I just wish they'd block tweets that are directed straight at me, with a shortened link in them, from people I've never interacted with before.
  • it shall enter a time of.

  • by Alimony Pakhdan ( 1855364 ) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @08:37PM (#40513479)
    Some time ago some sensible folks pointed out that there is no such thing as "cyber crime" just "crime". For the very same reasons, there really is no such thing as "your rights online", just "your rights" and I'd like to remind everyone that the concept of "rights" is not the same everywhere.
  • is Twitter still relevant? Personally I think it makes a great single sign on service, but this whole 140 character limit they've imposed on themselves has rendered them useless for any kind of substantial communication IMO.
    • Didn't Twitter originate as an SMS gateway, whose messages have a 140 byte limit?

    • I think you've missed the point somewhat.. the character limit has its benefits (enforces brevity), but that's not what I'd consider the strength of Twitter these days--since the addition of the streaming API, Twitter has become an invaluable resource for gathering information in real time.
    • Slashdot has a limit on the number of characters in your sig too... it's 20 less then twitter even.

  • Despite the fact that twitter played a part in several "revolutions", twitter never had freedom in its DNA. Just look at some of their actions:

    Country specific censorship controls []

    Purchase and subsequent shutdown of Whispercore, an android build used for secure communications in Egypt []

    I also have a friend that was an organizer for OWS in NY during its inception, and he claimed that several of his tweets were removed.


  • You guys have had your fun. Stop tweeting dick jokes at him and he'll turn the internet back on.

  • The difficulty is that moves to stop the anonymous Tweets which have been useful for protest in repressive regimes could also curtail trolling.

  • Also, it's tweeter. Who the fuck care besides journalists that try to validate that shit since forever but got all of then locked in a circle jerk.

  • I've said that 1000 times already.

  • I set up @NetFreeUK a month or so ago and built up a following by retweeting and commenting on stories related to freedom of speech, individual privacy, dangerous Big Media legislation like ACTA etc. I've been meticulous in sticking to the rules - not spamming, replying politely to those with contradictory views etc .. but my account is currently suspended, as of several days ago.

    I've appealed to Twitter, asking them to verify from my history that I've not broken any rules, heard nothing back after nearly a

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.