This is going to be a super-long post, so it won’t hurt my feelings if you pass it by, though IMNSHO there is a lot of good content here. If you simply drop a like without reading it, your loss.
Fandango provocatively asks…
Do you think [TOS violator] should be allowed back on social media now that he’s no longer in office?
I hope Fandango forgives me for slightly editing his question to remove the specific name. My view is that people should be held to the terms they agreed to when they signed up for a service. This means all people, no exceptions.
Let’s use WordPress for our first example, since most of my readers are using this service. Have you read the TOS? There are a lot of terms there… having to do with signing up, payments, disclaimers of WP liability for anything, using the site for e-commerce, more gobble about money, and some conditions having to do with users’ behavior. Here are some examples:
- Will comply with all applicable laws and regulations (including, without limitation, all applicable laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content, privacy, data protection, the transmission of technical data exported from the United States or the country in which you reside, the use or provision of financial services, notification and consumer protection, unfair competition, and false advertising);
- Will not be for any unlawful purposes, to publish illegal content, or in furtherance of illegal activities;
- Will not disclose the personal information of others;
- Will not be used to send spam or bulk unsolicited messages; […]
You must obey the laws about online conduct and acceptable conduct. What are those? Here’s a look…
Okay, what about, say… Twitter? Anything goes there, right? Um nope. Contrary to what Twitter looks like, they actually have rules. Which they enforce arbitrarily, unfortunately. These sites making gobs of money (FB, Twitter, etc.) should, in my opinion, be forced to hire as many people as necessary to enforce their own TOS. If they can’t/don’t/won’t, they should be taken offline. There is no excuse! If there are too many messages to monitor, fix it so there aren’t. They can and should. No one needs to tweet 500 times per day if the site can’t handle monitoring their content.
Here are some rules from the Twitter TOS:
- Violence: You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence. Learn more about our violent threat and glorification of violence policies.
- Abuse/harassment: You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. This includes wishing or hoping that someone experiences physical harm. Learn more.
- Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. Learn more.
- Civic Integrity: You may not use Twitter’s services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes. This includes posting or sharing content that may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process. Learn more.
- Impersonation: You may not impersonate individuals, groups, or organizations in a manner that is intended to or does mislead, confuse, or deceive others. Learn more.
Isn’t that interesting? You wouldn’t think, from visiting Twitter, that they had any rules at all! But apparently there are so many tweets that they can’t handle monitoring them for adherence to their own rules. They rely on other users reporting violations. Regardless, violators should be restricted, even if they can’t all be found (which they could, if these sites put money into enforcing their own rules).
It’s not only the twice-impeached former POTUS who constantly violates the Twitter rules ~ violations are all over the place there, perpetuated by peeps of all political persuasions. They are simply sliding under the radar. Forex, it’s become a sport online to mock officials for having “dementia,” which is a clear violation of the Twitter TOS, whoever is doing it. Dementia is a serious disease, incapacitating millions of people, and it’s heartbreaking besides. It’s not funny to accuse people of having it because they lie, misspeak, stutter, etc. But folks on the right and the left use this form of harassment as mockery of those they dislike.
Many of us are on Facebook, which also has rules, not that they are great at enforcing them. God forbid hiring more monitors would put a dent in the bottom line there. Here are a few FB rules that are routinely ignored:
- Use the same name that you use in everyday life.
- Provide accurate information about yourself.
- Create only one account (your own) and use your timeline for personal purposes.
- We believe that all people are equal in dignity and rights. We expect that people will respect the dignity of others and not harass or degrade others. [found in Community Standards]
I stand by my unpopular opinion that there needs to be a huge change in the structure of social media ~ and that is to create a new global rule of one account per person signed up with their real, legal name, verified with a credit card. You don’t have to use your real name as your handle, but you get ONE handle, to be used across all social media. There needs to be an end to this detachment of words from consequences when you want to “troll” and harass others. That’s the thing about social media ~ people want to be separated from the consequences of their behavior. Unlike other areas of life, we aren’t required to accept any responsibility for our words, words that are casually tossed out to mock, harass, demean, etc. others online.
Of course, I have strayed from the question. That’s because it’s too simple for me to say, “Ugh, hate him ban him!” The twice-impeached former POTUS has violated the TOS egregiously and repeatedly, so suspending his account was the right thing to do, but more than that… everyone should be required to abide by the TOS they signed up for. Everyone.
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