TFN poll: should trolls be kicked off social media sites?

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‚ÄčAs Twitter prepares to get tough on online abuse, we ask whether more must be done to crack down on trolls - or is it a question of free speech?

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21st July 2016 by Graham Martin 1 Comment

Should trolls be kicked off social media sites?

Poll results (total votes: 71)

Should trolls be kicked off social media sites?
Answer:
Yes
Votes:
63
Ratio:
88.73%
Answer:
No
Votes:
8
Ratio:
11.27%

The issue of racist and misogynistic abuse on social media has never been far from the headlines recently.

It manifested in the soul searching which happened following the murder of MP Jo Cox at the hands of a far right extremist.

This cast a light on some of the abuse heaped especially on women online.

Even something as seemingly innocuous as the new Ghostbusters film has become a lightening rod for online attitudes, with the film’s mixed race and female stars singled out for some horrendous abuse.

It’s not a new story though – as the treatment of women who had the temerity to suggest a better gender balance on bank notes shows.

This week, one of the major social media platforms signalled that it has had enough.

In a decision that could have huge ramifications for the standard of online debate, Twitter said it will now take firmer action against trolls.

The company said: “We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behaviour on Twitter. We agree.

“We have been in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behaviour. We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.”

One of the first ‘victims’ has been right-wing journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, whose diatribes against feminism have seen him banned from the platform.

He has responded by saying: “With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives.”

In defending people’s right to be offensive, many have been quick to trot out the famous quote (wrongly) attributed to Voltaire: “I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

However, others say that “free speech” is not neutral and that allowing those who operate from a position of power and privilege to attack minorities silences already marginalised voices, and shores up inequality.

So that’s why we’re asking: should trolls be kicked off social media sites?

Vote now and join in the debate by leaving a comment.

Comments

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22nd July 2016 by Tiiu-Imbi Miller

I do not think that kicking them off social media infringes their right to free speech. it does not in any way penalise them (they probably should be penalised, but that's a separate issue), they are free to express their obnoxious opinions, but just not on that particular platform. Just as I insist on the right to say what gets done in my house the owner of a social media must have the right (and therefore has the duty) to say what can be done on his/her platform.