Twitter has been big news of late, with reports that they plan to implement an abuse reporting function. I’ve been asked a few times what my thoughts are on the matter, and I’m all for it.
Threatening and unlawful behaviour is completely unacceptable and those who engage in such a manner should be held accountable. I displayed my willingness to side with this sentiment recently by reporting a clearly threatening tweet (not to me) to the police.
My only concern is: how will this be regulated? Will Twitter have the manpower (or women!!!!!) to efficiently distinguish abusers and trollers from genuine disagreement or attempts to engage in meaningful discourse? Given the vast numbers of Twitter users and the seemingly unrealistic task of policing it, is it likely to be an unmanned, automated process? An algorithm simply reacting to multiple ‘abuse reports’? Only time will tell.
‘Troll’ seems the buzzword of late. The problem is, that “troll” in the context of the internet has no unified definition. I personally take trolling to mean the act of intentionally making insincere statements to an individual, or individuals in order to provoke a response, or as they would call it, a “victory”. Others use it simply to describe an individual who seeks out arguments online.
I’m trolled daily in the former sense. People will tweet me en masse with clearly disingenuous statements in the hope that I may respond. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It often depends on how dull my commute to work is that morning.