‘The Room Had Started To Smell. Really Quite Bad’: Stephen Fry Exits Twitter

Mark Wilson writes: For a man so readily associated with words — and certainly for a wordsmith so enamored with technology — Twitter seems like something of a natural home for Stephen Fry. Over the years he has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers, but last night he closed his account. Fry’s latest exit from Twitter (there have been several over the last few years for numerous reasons) came about because of the backlash he received for making a joke at an award ceremony. Hosting the BATFAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) on Sunday, he referred to costume designer and award winner (and, indeed, friend) Jenny Beavan as being ‘dressed as a bag lady’. ‘Offended’ Twitter users attacked Fry in their droves, and he fought a valiant battle, before eventually giving up and terminating his account. It comes just days after Twitter set up a new Trust & Safety Council.

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Twitter Says It’s Beating the Trolls

Mark Wilson writes: After making it easier to report abusive tweets and increasing the size of its anti-troll team, Twitter believes it is getting ‘bad behavior’ under control. As well as bullying of acquaintances and work colleagues, Twitter has also been used to attack celebrities, the gay community, religious groups, and more, with many people feeling driven from the site. It seems that the decision to take a very hands-on approach to troll tackling is starting to pay off. The head of Twitter in Europe, Bruce Daisley, says that the tools that have been introduced have had a real impact on trolling. He goes further, saying that there is a direct correlation between the release of new safety tools and reporting mechanisms, and the drop in unacceptable behavior.

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Twitter Says It’s Beating the Trolls

Mark Wilson writes: After making it easier to report abusive tweets and increasing the size of its anti-troll team, Twitter believes it is getting ‘bad behavior’ under control. As well as bullying of acquaintances and work colleagues, Twitter has also been used to attack celebrities, the gay community, religious groups, and more, with many people feeling driven from the site. It seems that the decision to take a very hands-on approach to troll tackling is starting to pay off. The head of Twitter in Europe, Bruce Daisley, says that the tools that have been introduced have had a real impact on trolling. He goes further, saying that there is a direct correlation between the release of new safety tools and reporting mechanisms, and the drop in unacceptable behavior.

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How To Fix Twitter

An anonymous reader writes: Dustin Curtis succinctly breaks down Twitter’s biggest problems, and how they can be fixed. Some of the problems are technological — they way they’ve decided to handle multimedia objects is arbitrary and annoying, and their inclusion of third-party modules is inconsistent and behind the times. Other problems are more central to what Twitter is about: “[F]or normal users, Twitter feels too much like a one-way broadcast system. … Twitter responses are difficult to read on the website–with that weird accordion expansion UI that only shows 5 responses and makes it impossible to follow a coherent conversation.” The biggest problem is in Twitter’s utility for browsing real-time information, which should be its strength: “When I open Twitter during a major debate in the U.S., or when a bomb has exploded in Bangkok, there should be a huge f@$ %&#g banner at the top that says ‘follow this breaking event.’ It shouldn’t just search for a hashtag–it should use intelligent algorithms to show me all of the relevant content about that event.

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Twitter Blocks API Access For Sites Monitoring Politicians’ Deleted Tweets

An anonymous reader writes: Politwoops is/was a site that monitored the Twitter feeds of politicians and posted any tweets that those politicians later deleted. On May 15, Twitter suspended API access for the U.S. version of Politwoops, and now they’ve blocked access to the versions of Politwoops running in 30 other countries. Twitter has also blocked access for similar site Diplotwoops, which focused on deleted tweets from diplomats and embassies. Twitter said, “‘Imagine how nerve-racking – terrifying, even – tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable? No one user is more deserving of that ability than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of the user’s voice.” Arjan El Fassed, director of the Open State Foundation, which developed Politwoops, disagrees: “What politicians say in public should be available to anyone. This is not about typos but it is a unique insight on how messages from elected politicians can change without notice.”

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Twitter Yanks Tweets That Repeat Copyrighted Joke

Mark Wilson writes at Beta News: Can a joke be copyrighted? Twitter seems to think so. As spotted by Twitter account Plagiarism is Bad a number of tweets that repeat a particular joke are being hidden from view. The tweets have not been deleted as such, but their text has been replaced with a link to Twitter’s Copyright and DMCA policy.

Quality of the joke itself aside — no accounting for taste — this seems a strange move for a site and service which is largely based around verbatim retransmission of other people’s low-character-count declarations, recipes, questions, and Yes, jokes.

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How Twitter Is Balancing Free Speech And Security In The Age Of ISIS

Like any political campaign, ISIS is increasingly turning to Twitter and other social media platforms to broadcast its messages and media content. This leaves companies like Twitter with the tough job of balancing free speech with issues of national security.
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Twitter Stock Jumps Nearly 8 Percent After Fake Report

vivaoporto writes: As noted by Re/code and many other outlets, Twitter stock jumped nearly 8 percent after a bogus report, attributed to Bloomberg News, said Twitter had received a $ 31 billion buyout offer. The fake story, which cited “people with knowledge of the situation,” appeared on a website (Google Cache version) made to look like Bloomberg’s business news page and claimed the company had received a takeover offer worth $ 31 billion.

The website domain, bloomberg.market (now suspended), was registered Friday, according to a search of ICANN’s records. The identity of the person or company who registered it is not publicly available. Close scrutiny flagged a number of questionable elements in the report, like the name of Twitter’s former chief executive, Richard Costolo, being misspelled. By late afternoon, the web page for bloomberg.market was no longer operable. A message posted on the page said, “account suspended.” A spokesman for Bloomberg confirmed the takeover article was fake.

In May, a fake bid for another company, Avon Products, sent its shares as much as 20 percent higher. That offer involved a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last month the SEC sued a Bulgarian man, Nedko Nedev, and said he and five others worked together to violate securities laws by creating fake takeover offers. Robert Heim, a former lawyer at the SEC, said these kinds of schemes will probably persist because news spreads so fast over social media and traders have to react so quickly.

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Twitter Yanks Ads UK Activists Say Could Trigger Seizures

After complaints from UK charity Epilepsy Action, Twitter pulled afer less than a day two ads that the group said might cause epileptic seizures. The in-house ads, in the 6-second format of Twitter-owned Vine, consisted of flashing video which the Epilepsy Action said “was dangerous, as it could potentially produce seizures in people who have photo-sensitive epilepsy.”

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