Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tom's Twitter Tainted By Troll

I love Twitter and adore Tom Peters so you can imagine how disappointed I was when last week he almost stopped tweeting because he was being harassed by one kooky follower. When he posted his intention to leave I along with many many others chimed in: why didn't he simply block this jerk? Seemed too simple of an answer and apparently it was. Turns out this stalker was setting up multiple accounts for the sole purpose of hassling Tom, as soon as he blocked them another would pop up.

Aside from the annoyance that one unbalanced person was going to ruin the rest of our fun interacting directly with Tom, it made me wonder what kind of person has this kind of time on their hands and what's with all the hostility? Then I realized, as did Tom, that it doesn't matter- there are some nutty people in the world and it would be a shame to let them spoil all our fun.

But that said, this is a real issue that social media sites are going to need to step up and handle better. Blocking, un-friending, etc are all good for the casual annoyer but for a persistant pest or heaven forbid a more menacing scary threat there needs to be a way to address the situation more proactively. Twitter and the other sites are going to need to implement a stronger harassment barrier. I'm not sure of the legality of it all but there should be a way to block the IP address so that even if someone makes up another email or account attempt it would block them from signing on to the service permanently.

If Tom, a fully grown accomplished adult, can be worn down by this sort of thing I can only imagine what a teen or more vulnerable person would have to deal with. There are obviously reasons people want/need anonymity and privacy for certain types of interactions on the web but there should be a way to control who comes at us too.

To Catch a Predator caught and hopefully made online child predators fear they would be arrested and exposed - maybe it's time for the same treatment for these trolls and expose and shame them into stopping the bullying. There have been many cases of teens being bullied into suicide so it is not a victimless annoyance. And even if they are not life threatening in nature, we should be able to go online and interact without being driven away by a few badly behaved bullies.