Twitter Tells Users Being Harassed to File DMCA Takedowns

Crazy story at Medium by a woman who was being harassed by anti-vaxxers. The harassers got hold of a photo of the woman’s baby that she had posted online, and began tweeting out copies of the photo.

When she contacted Twitter, they suggested that she file a DMCA takedown notice for the images. For fuck’s sake. That is such bad advice on so many levels, not the least being that DMCA notices are generally going to result in the contact information of the individual or organization filing it to be shared with the person being served the notice.

And that’s what happened. She filed the DMCA notice which led to the image disappearing almost instantly from Twitter, but now the people harassing her were handed her personal contact information.

This is not the first time Twitter has suggested to users that they send DMCA notices to deal with harassing content without providing notice of what doing so entails.

There are so many things that Twitter could do to curtail abuse on its platform, and many of its heavy users have laid out in detail what they’d like to see change. Most of the suggestions by John Scalzi’s What I Want Out of Twitter would significantly dial back the level of abuse that individuals are exposed to:

1. Timed mutes.

2. Mutable phrases/hashtags in the web/mobile Twitter UI.

3. Make mute/block lists native to Twitter and shareable across clients.

4. Make mute/block lists easily shareable through Twitter between followers.

5. Robust filtering. [by account creation date/# of followers/account icon]

6. Muting in Notifications and Direct Messages.

7. The ability to see only replies/notifications from those you follow/whitelist.

8. An optional tab where muted/blocked account replies can go.

Unfortunately, Twitter seems completely uninterested in implementing these sort of suggestions. It seems to see Twitter as solely a link sharing/news service (hence the execrable Moments “feature”) rather than a discussion platform, and doesn’t seem to care about improving its system for those of us who use it for the latter purpose.

Uri Geller Should Have Seen This Coming

I definitely have regrets in my life and things I’d like to do over, and at the top of the list is the time when I was about 12 years old and checked out and read the entirety of Andrija Phuarich’s ridiculous biography of Uri Geller. I’d really like that week back. What’s always amazed me about Geller is not that he is a fraud but that was such a hack of a fraud — and yet, got all that media attention anyway.

Anyway, Geller’s fraud is trivially easy to expose and you can find videos on YouTube pointing out how he does all his magic tricks. That apparently pissed Geller off, so he sent a DMCA notice to take down one compilation of clips that had been posted on YouTube, asserting that the compilation contained 8 seconds of a clip from a Geller-owned video.

EFF filed suit against Geller’s in 2007, and later a Geller-owned company named Explorologist also got involved. On August 4, however, the EFF announced that not only had they settled the lawsuit with Geller and Explorologist, but as part of the settlement Explorologist agreed to license the disputed footage under a non-commercial Creative Commons license so its free to use to criticize Geller’s nonsensical claims.

Or, in other words, Geller and his company caved after the ridiculousness of their position became clear. For once, I suspect Geller really did get bent out of shape.