Why Does It Have To Be Handled At All?

1920's Democratic Picnic

1920’s Democratic Picnic

The Hill:

Anti-Obama trolls fuel questions about online hate, racism

Two high-profile examples of racism directed at President Obama online in the past week are shining a spotlight on the broader issue of online harassment.
But it’s a problem even the biggest companies in the tech world are struggling to find the right response to — one that would mute hateful trolling and threats while respecting the freedom of speech.

Early this week, it was revealed that if users searched Google Maps for “n—– house,” it showed them the White House. And when Obama launched a personal Twitter account, it attracted attacks virulent enough to warrant an article from The New York Times and, reportedly, a visit from the Secret Service to at least one user.
The president has faced racist attacks since long before he got to the White House. More generally, online environments have been hotbeds of harassment since the inception of the Web. But this week underscored how technology can amplify deeply personal slurs, even against the leader of the free world.


Social networks have been urged to help stop harassment that occurs when users single out someone on a platform for hate or abuse.

“The kind of harassment we are worried about happens when Internet users attract the attention of the wrong group or individual, and find themselves enduring extreme levels of targeted hostility, often accompanied by the exposure of their private lives,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a major privacy group, said in a statement. “And such online harassment can escalate to offline stalking, physical assault, and more.”

Whereas Obama has the protection of the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies, a member of the general public is more reliant on the people who run social networks to deal with threatening messages. But that hasn’t always delivered results, as some leading executives acknowledge.

“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said this year in an internal memo obtained by The Verge.

But the social network has clearly been making an effort to deal with harassment, and threats in particular.

“Like all of our technology industry peers, we do not proactively monitor content. Individual users and law enforcement authorities — including the U.S. Secret Service — report content to us and we review their reports against our rules, which prohibit violent threats and targeted abuse,” said a spokesman. “In cases involving immediate physical danger, law enforcement can submit emergency information requests to us 24/7 via a form available on our site.”

The platform said it received 1,622 requests for information from the U.S. government in the second half of 2014 and that 220 of those were emergency requests.

Twitter also worked with the nonprofit group Women, Action, and the Media to collect data last year about how women were being harassed on the site and help the women take action.

In three weeks, the group said it received close to 700 reports, more than 100 of which received “action from Twitter along the way.”

Condensed Twitter version:

Let’s talk about Obama first. The President of the United States has the finest bodyguards in the world. They’re not perfect, but it’s been over thirty years since someone managed to injure a POTUS. He also has military guards and local law enforcement assisting the Secret Service everywhere he goes.

He lives in a fort and travels around in an armored vehicle designed to withstand an anti-tank round. When he stays in a hotel the entire place is rented for him, his entourage and his security detail. They block roads and shut down air traffic around him. There are special laws against threatening a POTUS that are investigated by the FBI.

So why does he need to worry about some idiot posting mean words on Twitter from his mother’s basement?

Private individuals are somewhat more problematic.

On one hand, trolls can be vicious. Most are too cowardly to constitute a real life physical threat, but being stalked and harassed online by some deranged venom-spewing weirdo can scare the bejeebus out of someone.

There is a thing called “doxxing” where trolls uncover your private information and publish it online. Even worse is mobbing, which is when an online lynch mob goes after someone. Those things can have real life consequences, like costing you your job.

On the other hand, some people have abused the social media anti-harassment policies to shut down opposing voices. I got suspended by Twitter several times for alleged violations of their terms of service, and finally they told me I was permanently banned. When I appealed and kept asking them to tell me what specific violations I had allegedly committed they hemmed and hawed and ultimately reinstated my account.

There is even a term for it: “Twitter Gulag.”

There are things you can do to protect yourself. If you post racist crap under your own name (or an easily traced alias) and it comes back to bite you on the ass, whose fault it that? If you put all your personal information online all it takes is Google and a keyboard to find it. If your Facebook account lists your whole life for anyone to see, then ANYONE can see it.

Or you can follow the Klown Method and always wear an online disguise. Greasepaint, a big rubber nose and a fright wig are not required. I don’t use the name my mom gave me on social media. You cannot find a picture of me anywhere. I don’t give out my number to anyone. I don’t have a tip jar or Amazon doohickey on the blog because that would have to be connected to an account in my real name. Some (or maybe all) of the information I share about myself isn’t true.

I didn’t go off the grid because I was never on it. I started doing this stuff 20 years ago. The feds and maybe a few leet hackers could penetrate my defenses, but it would take a lot more than Google to do it. If need be I could easily dump Myiq2xu in the garbage and disappear forever. I have already established alternate personas I can switch to on a moment’s notice.

But not everyone is as paranoid as me. You can still defend yourself without going to my extremes. It’s like the phone book. You can have a listed number with your address. You can have just your name listed. You can use just your first initial. Or you can be unlisted.

What I am saying is you can be on the grid without sharing too much. Some people say that their life is an open book, then turn around and complain that the wrong people are reading it.

As far as the run-of-the-mill trolls, toughen up, buttercup. This is the internet, not a hothouse for delicate flowers.



About Myiq2xu™

If you want to find out what 'boof' means just pull my finger.
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109 Responses to Why Does It Have To Be Handled At All?

  1. Myiq2xu says:

    Here’s a simple rule: Don’t post anything online you wouldn’t want your spouse, mom, kids, employer and/or a judge and jury to see.

  2. Myiq2xu says:

    PRESCIENT: Camille Paglia on feminism from 1995. “I began to realize this in the Seventies when I thought women could do it on their own. But then something would go wrong with my car and I’d have to go to the men. Men would stop, men would lift up the hood, more men would come with a truck and take the car to a place where there were other men who would call other men who would arrive with parts. I saw how feminism was completely removed from this reality. I also learned something from the men at the garage. At Bennington, I would go to a faculty meeting and be aware that everyone hated me. The men were appalled by a strong, loud woman. But I went to this auto shop and the men there thought I was cute. ‘Oh, there’s that Professor Paglia from the college.’ The real men, men who work on cars, find me cute. They are not frightened by me, no matter how loud I am. But the men at the college were terrified because they are eunuchs, and I threatened every goddamned one of them.”

    • elliesmom says:

      As I’ve said before, I went to a college where I was one of very few women and into a job field where I was often the only woman in the room. I held my own just fine thank you. But I never gave up loving babies and puppies, and the guys I worked with were just fine with it. When I decided to teach, though, I found I was more intimidating to people. Some people never get over their fear of school. I use to sit on the neighbors’ porch drinking margaritas until one day I let it slip I was a teacher. The poor guy’s stutter came back, and things were never quite the same.

    • 1539days says:

      Paglia is also Italian. In the old days, that was considered ethnic.

    • Constance says:

      Nice quote!

  3. DeniseVB says:

    I still think all those nasty comments on the POTUS account were an inside(OFA) job to get sympathy for the Prezzy. There was nothing remotely like that on the Ice Cream Cone photo the Dems put out and people were upset. Yet the media covers the vile comments as though it were the norm. It would be pretty easy to track them down, you do have to register to tweet so I’m sure if they tried…..oh nevermind, they won’t 😉

    • With OFA action, there’s always a “tell.” It works as a primer to pump fuel into an echo-chamber so that when the follow up action occurs, the socially-constructed activism bomb goes off. In this case, the google map push pin is the tell.

      Someone from a friendly camp or in the same camp planted that push pin on the map. Then they “broke a story” about it and every body followed along, checking it out to see if it was true. Then came Obama’s new Twitter account and more friendly trolls were assigned to manufacture the “racist tweets.” It’s transparent as hell. So I guess he at least keeps one promise, even if his fans are too stupid to see it.

  4. DeniseVB says:

    Yep, I played the “former Dem” card which is a cheap trick for r/t’s and likeys 😀

    • leslie says:

      I don’t remember if I r/t’d but I know I read it and liked it… Now whether I actually “liked” it, I don’t recall. 😉

      • DeniseVB says:

        When I tweet, I never get likes or retweets ! I only pull the “former Dem” card when I want to criticize Dem policies or people. Then boom! I feel so popular 😀 Of course, IceCreamConeGate has become a national story, that helps too.

      • Lulu says:

        And Dems are the ones accusing everyone of consumerism and income inequality. Who but the idle rich twits thinks of this?

      • DeniseVB says:

        The @RNC pols aren’t much better at bashin’n’sellin’ stuff. Tomorrow’s the real MemDay, I’ll watch both to see who can out patrioticize each other 😀

        Interesting, I noticed there’s no slobbering over HRC on the Dem feed. Yeah they mentioned she’s running, but more in that Vote Dem sorta way. I didn’t have to clean off my screen like I do when there’s a cute photo of the Bampot.

  5. 1539days says:

    The other thing that drives me nuts is the MSM making a big deal about “President Obama got a twitter account.” That’s a total non-story since @BarackObama has been around for 7 years. He only started getting racists tweets when he got the @POTUS? This is a new mini distraction trying to elicit sympathy for the least useful president in history.

    Leftists called Bush a “retard” about 1,000 times a day. No one was outraged. I’m pretty sure the media tried to prove it was true a few times.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Funny how the media MADE a big deal out of the not-so-new POTUS account the day Ramadi fell, then covered the “racist” comments to convince us we are a racist nation! Even our local paper covered it as “news”. Gah.

      • Mt.Laurel says:

        That account is not new. They have had it on hold like all those corporations that buy up variations on their name. The WH pulled it out when they thought they needed a new way to get BO attention and create new squirrels.

        • Myiq2xu says:

          A lot of times they buy them up just so nobody else can use them.

          • Mt.Laurel says:

            In arguing with WordPress I lost that bit the why corporations buy up names. Some company’s found that there name was actually already bought and had to pay ransom to get usage. In fact, I think the WH would have been remiss not to try and tag those obvious ones so they cannot be hijacked.

            However bragging that BO, the supposed new millennial prez with highly touted [by bots] tech skills, joined Twitter so late in the game would be amusing if not so obnoxious (as in – now that BO is on twitter it has arrived attitude).

          • leslie says:

            I actually don’t believe any of it. Supposedly Bronco twittered to his “followers” before he stole the POTUS title. Remember when he pitched a tantrum (the “No Drama” guy) because he didn’t want to hand over his blackberry? He is the biggest fraud this country has ever seen. and he brought in the rest of the cockroaches with him..

  6. leslie says:

    I’m leaving in a few minutes to grandbabies sit today while the mama and poppy plant their gardens. About Twitter hate….. Just after I joined twitter, I received a comment so horrid and evil and hate-filled, that it made me ill. I didn’t read it on twitter, it came to my email as an alert that I had a comment. I didn’t understand the way twitter worked at that time, and thought it was a direct threat sent to me via email. I went back to find the comment on twitter, to report it, and of course, it had been deleted (probably the instant it had been sent). I’m a pretty non-threatening person and although I have intense feelings about things, aside from demonstrating at public protests, I wouldn’t pose a threat to anyone or anything. Oddly enough, that was the time I was the one put into the twitter dungeon. I complained and was “released”. I have no idea what – if anything – happened to the evil one who made such a mean comment/threat to me. I couldn’t believe someone could convey so much hate in only 140 characters.
    I did comment back to the person -“Does your mother know you talk like this?” That was likely what got me put into twitter jail. /s

  7. Myiq2xu says:
  8. leslie says:

    I posted this on last night’s thread, but only really a few minutes ago. It’s about what to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. . . I’ve been looking for something that caught my imagination the way “If I Were You” did. Hence my following recommendation:

    Have you ever watched “Last Tango in Halifax”? I started watching it last weekend, and couldn’t stop. It was wonderful. It’s set in the present, and is about a couple who were friends in high school and 60 years later “find” each other on Facebook. One of their families is erudite and “refined” and the other not so much – farming people who work hard and live day-to-day. It’s only a 2 season (PBS, I think) series and absolutely worthwhile. The actors are top notch (Derek Jacobi and Ann Reid and a host of others)

    (I thought of Denise when one of the main characters reads the Daily Mail and the other shrugs off the implications. lol.)

    • helenk3 says:

      I just put in on my list. you will like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. the show is fun to watch

      • leslie says:

        Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is already in my queue (golly, I love that word). It is my next series to watch. It is one of those Netflix “if you liked ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ you will like this” recommendations . . . I rarely go wrong by following them. 😉
        (I just returned to pick up something and going back to grandbaby sit. (I love my life today!)

      • westcoaster says:

        I found out about the Mrs. Bradley mysteries with Diana Rigg through the Miss Fisher Mysteries. There are only 5 episodes, but they are also pretty good.

        • lildoggy4u says:

          Is that Diana Rigg from the Avengers series? Probably to hottest woman on TV as I was growing up. I wanted to be just like her.

    • lyn says:

      Added both to my Netflix list. “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” looks good. I rented “American Sniper” to watch this weekend. I also liked “Black or White” with Kevin Costner.

    • Constance says:

      I’ve seen parts of it and enjoyed it. I’ll have to put it on hold at the library because it would be fun to watch the whole thing. I’m currently watching “Hamish Mac Beth” which has drop dead gorgeous scenery in Scotland and a bunch of watchable small town characters.

  9. helenk3 says:

    ‘A Beautiful Mind’ mathematician John Nash and his wife killed in New Jersey Turnpike crash, police say – @njdotcom
    Read more on http://www.nj.com

  10. DeniseVB says:

    POTUS has been spammed by the porn ladies of Twitter. LOL! (see the comments if they’re still up), never mind his stupid tweet 😉

  11. Lulu says:

    1. Bronco makes up most of his own problems.
    2. Bronco is very thin skinned.
    3. Bronco had rather work on stupid shit than say ISIS or unemployment.
    4. Bronco needs a narrative. Preferably one about himself.
    5. Bronco needs the media on his side and the easiest way to do that is give them a story that they can cover sitting on their asses in the newsroom on their laptop.

    • piper says:

      So absolutely TRUE. A shell of a man who demands constant attention and adulation to perpetuate an image of an erudite leader which he craves but is not – IMO ranks as the worst president in my lifetime lower than Jimmeh.

      • piper says:

        HST was president when I was hatched.

        • Lulu says:

          Eisenhower for me. Compare Bronco to those guys.

          • Mt.Laurel says:

            Dwight for me as well although I arrived late in his term.The first president I recall is Kennedy – or actually his death. I remember sitting up on the hill overlooking the grave with my mother playing on a picnic blanket while my Dad and brothers waited in line to pay their respects. We always made a trip to DC at Thanksgiving so this just days after the memorial service. The boys wanted to go so Dad took them even though he was polio survivor and it meant hours standing on his feet which was always difficult for him. This was the only time I ever saw my Dad wear his leg braces. He voted for Nixon because – well he was never a fan of the Kennedys – but JFK was the president and one shows respect. BO nor his gang can wrap their heads around that type of through process – respect is foreign to them.

          • DeniseVB says:

            MtL….Kennedy was very inspiring to me as a teen and made me a lifelong Dem, until 2008. Kennedy promised us the moon (and we did) then Obama took it away. BTW tried to warn us about Obama…….

        • SHV says:

          HST is the first President that I remember. How society has changed, those were the days when a President could take morning walks along Pennsylvania Ave. or walk to a local bank to deposit his pay check.

        • 49erDweet says:

          The vacuum cleaner guy was prez when I was born but the first I remember was Franklin, and his distinctive Mid-Atlantic drawl coming out of the radio.

    • votermom says:

  12. piper says:

    So those beautiful pics of your grandchildren are fakes. I’m verklempt.

  13. piper says:

    Thanks to K. Marge for this chart – notice that globull warming isn’t one of top concerns.

    • Lulu says:

      Brit and Australian scientists are going over the hard data and it has ALL been manipulated. Global Climate Change is really small variations called WEATHER. Much larger variations have occurred since data began being collected in the 1600’s. The weird weather this year is El Nino weather patterns which the NWS didn’t mention until the Australians send them a memo, made it public and exposed their political agenda.

  14. 49erDweet says:

    It all seems so “reasonable”. The EFF is only worried about statements from “the wrong group or individual”.
    But sometimes that’s ME!

  15. helenk3 says:


    could you picture this on a golf course where backtrack plays? the PETA people would go nuts if the secret service killed it

  16. piper says:

    Good read on Obama who recently said he was going to be around in the next 20 years and his legacy. Everything for a damm legacy when he could have had an ass to ride off in the wind.

    • Lulu says:

      I think of ISIS as Obama’s Accidental Murder/Pervert Army. He is their neglectful and stupid father who tries to pretend they aren’t there.

  17. helenk3 says:

    some hard truth here

  18. Dora says:

    Thanks to the following declassified info we have a better understanding of currant events in the Middle East and America’s role in all of it.

    Secret Pentagon Report Reveals US “Created” ISIS As A “Tool” To Overthrow Syria’s President Assad


    • lizzy says:

      Guess that ISIS proved to be a tiger when Obama grabbed it by the tail. An asset that takes control of the “narrative”. Poor, poor Obama; he didn’t count on crazy Muslim fundies who didn’t just want jobs. They plan to bring on the end of the world.

    • Lulu says:

      She needs to read some earlier history of Britain. Smart non aristocrats started running things such as the church and the legal system as far back as Henry II. Poor boys, even serfs, were educated to serve the country. While the Mantel books (and tv series) are excellent they are fiction and very obviously one point of view developed for drama. She writes about the tv show like it was a reality show or candid camera. Cromwell was a bad egg, who remade bureaucracy and laws to suit himself, who got mixed up with another one named Henry.

      • Myiq2xu says:

        Cromwell was a Puritan. When he fell out of favor so did they.

      • Myiq2xu says:

        RD’s problem is she keeps trying to frame everything in her own narrow, bigoted viewpoints and apply it to her twisted view of today.

        • Lulu says:

          They need to make a Batman movie with a Cromwell character./s/ Historical sources clearly show Cromwell was a clever, immoral, functionary who figured out ways to get what Henry VIII wanted. Did his family and close friends love him. Sure they did. He made them rich getting church property for next to nothing from Henry. The novels put a human face on a very adept operator. That is good drama.

        • DeniseVB says:

          I call it the “sandbox” rule, she owns it, she can say whatever she wants. I learned early on I wasn’t very welcomed there for supporting Sarah Palin in ’08 after Hillary got gobsmacked by her own party. Big mistake, so I never returned. To this day, I still can’t figure out why feminists hate accomplished, married, straight conservative women. Or the women who like them 😉

  19. Myiq2xu says:

    One problem with identity politics in the US is they are running out of wrongs to right.

    • Lulu says:

      Victims are becoming victims of other victims. Who is the victim-est?

      • SHV says:

        That’s really a problem when “rule of law” is determined by one’s position on protected class victim list. Recently read about a complaint to a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal where a Lesbian had filed a complaint against a Muslim barber who refused to cut her hair…back in the day when Canadian Euro-Christian men were the only “oppressors” the decisions were easy.

      • DandyTIger says:

        I’ve been triggered, I’m victimized by the word victim. /s

      • DeniseVB says:

        There’s a lot of money to be made off of victims. Where would RevAl be without them ? Or the Obamas?

  20. mothy67 says:

    Back in 2008 the trolls we beyond viscious they went after Hillary supporters personally. A site called Something Awful had o supporters going as far as threatening rape with a knife against a Florida woman. Caused her work problems. Published her address. They birthed the online ugliness.

    • Myiq2xu says:

      I remember the awful shit that went on. But unless and until we can clearly define the line between harmless trolling and criminal harassment there isn’t much we can do.

      • Lulu says:

        I expect them to go insane again in 2016. But this time I think they will be ignored. The shock value is gone.

  21. DandyTIger says:

    Agree with the anonymous route. Believe it or not, DT is not my real name. Shocking, I know.

  22. helenk3 says:

    Actress, comedian Anne Meara, mom of Ben Stiller, dies at 85 – @AP
    End of alert

  23. Myiq2xu says:

    News reporting is sometimes called “the first draft of history.” When you consider how badly the news media regularly mangles the truth it makes you doubt the veracity of history books.

    • 49erDweet says:

      I know. Been thinking about that a lot, recently. I mean how do we really, really KNOW Adolph was a bad guy? Without having access to his e-mails or twitter feed, maybe it was all just a big misunderstanding?

  24. Myiq2xu says:
  25. Dora says:

    Sad. At least they were together.

    ‘Beautiful Mind’ mathematician John Nash and his wife killed in New Jersey taxi crash: Tributes flood in for Princeton professor


  26. Myiq2xu says:
  27. DeniseVB says:

    For the TCH youngsters, Ben Stiller’s parents on The Ed Sullivan Show…..oh, about 50+ years ago…….

  28. Myiq2xu says:

    I just saw an ad with a woman getting ready to have liposuction alternative “coolsculpting” to remove a teeny-tiny muffin top.


  29. Dora says:

    “Emails offer glimpse into Clinton’s personal life”, but not much concern for anyone else in the wake of the Benghazi attacks

    A fascinating article was published yesterday by Agency France Presse (AFP) that legacy media outlets studiously avoided relaying. And I had to go to PM News Nigeria to find it.


  30. DeniseVB says:

    Watching 1983’s “Flashdance”. Hope feminist’s aren’t watching, their head’s would explode 😉

  31. DeniseVB says:

    This movie is over 30 years old, so many great scenes and my favorite quote: “you give up your dream, you die”. Says the handsome boss who got the snowflake girlfriend her dream dance audition 😉 Should be shown in every middle school, work it girlfriend ! Oh, here comes my favorite scene, the one that Jennifer Beals is not really dancing in….girl power means stand ins too 😉

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