Social media brings out the worst in some of us.Well, OK. Just like any kind of freedom, right? It'll always be abused by someone, somewhere...
Why else would you set up a Facebook group to pay a twisted tribute to "legend" Dale Cregan? (Cregan was arrested on suspicion of murder, for his alleged involvement in the killings of two police officers in Manchester.) Or write that "Every police officer's death is a course [sic] for celebration"? There should be no consolation in poor grammar either: such trolling seems to be a persistent phenomenon with so-called "tribute sites" appearing for the killer Raoul Moat – as well as the racist abuse aimed at Stan Collymore or Fabrice Muamba, or the sexist insults directed at Louise Mensch.None of which is actually 'trolling' as the original meaning of the term would have it. You'd think - if you really had selected the right man to be 'head of media and technology' - the difference would be understood.
At least the police are taking action.And the fact you regard that as a good thing simply points up the uselessness of the 'Guardian' in defending free speech.
It is illegal to send "grossly offensive" messages, according to the Communications Act 2003 (although few people probably knew that). Today a 22-year-old man was arrested in Netherley, Liverpool in the light of that act.Did he 'send' them? Does me posting a comment to Twitter constitute 'sending'?
The law - because it's useless and outdated and was almost certainly drawn up by technological Luddites - says yes. Sensible people would argue no.
However, we are asking for a lot if we expect, or believe, that the police can get involved every time somebody makes grossly offensive remarks online.Well, quite! So how about we give them a break and act like adults, instead?
It will always be hard for the police to tackle the decline in civility that seems to come the moment you hand people a computer, the internet and a darkened bedroom. Many would like to argue that such abuse is a necessary excrescence of the digital world, matched perhaps by the freedom that social media give to express and organise, as the #coverforgmp campaign demonstrates.
It's not hard to see that Yet it is hard to be sure that Facebook and Twitter could not do more.Really? What could they do?
Facebook likes to talk about how content on the network is monitored by 900m users, any of whom can report abuse to a team of uncertain number and resource based in Dublin. Facebook doesn't say how many pages it has taken down, how many complaints it gets, or how fast it works, but on the Cregan case will say it mainly took pages down because they were set up by people with false identities – for Facebook, the original sin.No, merely a breach of their stated terms and conditions. In other words, something for which they can act, and will act.
Transparency, of course, would only give the public a chance to work out if Facebook does a good job in regulating its own network. Facebook, however, declines to be specific, as it presumably knows best…It's entitled to 'know best'; it is, after all, providing a service free of charge. And the only problem for people like you is that it's willing to tolerate things you clearly aren't. I see that the rampant Statism that affects the rest of the 'Guardian' staffers has reached here too...
Pre-moderation is impossible for a social network, but everybody has access to a search function, including the owners of the network themselves. There will be Facebook tribute pages to the next person arrested on suspicion of murder too; one would hope that they could be deleted almost the moment they appear – and that it is not just left to the public to complain and the police to deal with the consequencesSo in order to gain your approval, social media needs to take on a huuuuuuuuge staff to vet every single post and Tweet made?
Admit it, Dan, this is simply you lining up jobs for all the CiF moderators when this rag finally exhausts the resources of 'AutoTrader' and folds, isn't it?