This whole Ariel Waldman thing has turned into an enormous, fierce debate with some people strongly supporting Ariel, some people congratulating Twitter for not turning into a nanny service, some people claiming it’s all lies and a publicity stunt, and many other opinions in between.
My opinion is: I don’t care whether Ariel made it all up. I only care about the way Twitter react to personal harassment, abuse and racial hatred – all of which i have seen on Twitter yesterday. At the moment Twitter are sending the message that it’s perfectly okay and they are turning a blind eye. This is causing people to push the boundaries further still, to see how much they can get away with.
Here’s the catch: i’m strongly against censorship … but i’m also strongly against personal attacks, bullying, discrimination and incitement of hatred. So what do you do? Where is the line drawn between free speech and harassment? Who is to decide what is okay and what is not okay?
I do think that Ariel should have gone to the police rather than rally up this huge mob of angry people. It has not really done Ariel any favours at all. But as for Twitter i’d like to see some sort of statement that deliberate foul abuse of any individual or any group of people is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. They need to do something about it. If they continue to imply that it’s perfectly okay to abuse whoever you like on Twitter, then i am not going to want to be associated with Twitter any longer.