Regulate social media platforms – Maria Miller

A United Kingdom Member of Parliament is calling for significant reform of the way social media is regulated in the country.

Maria Miller says more regulation is needed of social media platforms
SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA: Maria Miller says more regulation is needed of social media platforms. Courtesy: The Great Critique Blog

Maria Miller, who is the MP for Basingstoke, says the current system is circumnavigated by social media platforms. “We need to get the government to focus on the broader problem of internet abuse in its many and varied forms and not simply take a sticking plaster approach to it,” she said. “We have to make sure that as a country we are challenging the operators to clean up their act.
“Whether it’s Twitter, Google, Facebook, Instragram, all of them need to be much more clearly held to account for the way they are operating in our country.
These are multi-national companies who are hiding behind a cloak of anonymity and we need to expose them and get them to be more transparent in the way they are operating and the level of abuse that is going on through their operations.

Councillor Jonathan Bishop is an Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert who is the CEO of Action on Digital Addiction and Cyberstalking. “It is my view that the criminal laws for trolling are strong enough, although they could do with some tidying up as they date from 1988 to 2003,” he said. “When the United Kingdom leaves the EU it will be really difficult for ordinary citizens to take action against social media platforms, so I think it is essential that if Maria Miller’s proposals for a levy on social media firms goes ahead that it should fund an Internet Ombudsman like I proposed in 2010 and not the police, whose heavy handed approach to trolling goes too far in many cases.

Councillor Jonathan Bishop’s research paper that proposed an Internet Ombudsman was called “Tough on data misuse, tough on the causes of data misuse: A review of New Labour’s approach to information security and regulating the misuse of digital information (1997-2010)” and was published in the International Review of Law, Computers & Technology.

Instagram passing responsibility for legal breaches onto users

Instagram, the photograph sharing service, is trying to pass responsibility for its alleged breaches of the law onto its users, it has been found.

Instagram, which is led by Kevin Systrom as its CEO, has been founded inviting corporations it has been alleged to have breached the intellectual property of to get in touch with users who might not be aware of such actions.

The news comes as increasing pressure is being put on its rival Twitter to take responsibility for the illegal actions of its users, such as the posting of indecent, obscene, menacing or threatening content, which it says to victims are within its own rules.

Kevin Systrom is the CEO of Instagram, which is asking corporations to take its alleged breaches of the law up with users directly
NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY: Kevin Systrom is the CEO of Instagram, which is asking corporations to take its alleged breaches of the law up with users directly. Courtesy: AFP

In one instance a corporation was asked by Instagram in a trademark dispute to contact a user directly, telling them “If you would like to contact the user to see if they might be willing to yield their username to you, we would suggest creating an account with an alternate username and leaving a comment on one of their photos or videos.”

Under the E-Commerce Directive, which has been transposed into UK law through the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002, providers of information society services like Instagram and Twitter are required not to allow any unlawful content to be hosted on their platforms.

Both Instagram and Twitter are expecting both businesses and consumers to resolve issues between themselves, when the law puts the liability firmly at the door of social media platforms. Known as sysop prerogative, website owners like Instagram and Twitter are only allowed in theory to do what the law entitles them to do, but in practice will use their own rules to justify not following the law.

Following being approached by Crocels News, a spokesperson from Instagram confirmed that if the company’s own rules have not been broken that it is in their view not their responsibility, even it would seem if the law has been broken by them.

Metropolitan Police ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’ for ‘trolling’ claim

The London Metropolitan Police have been criticised for being institutionally sexist and racist, following being forced to drop a prosecution against a Caucasian man, who was arrested and charged following being outspoken on Twitter against a muslim woman.

In an embarrassing climb-down, the Metropolitan Police were forced to drop charges against the man, who was arrested and charged under Section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, following heated exchanges with a Muslim woman on Twitter.

The man, aged 46, was arrested and charged by the Metropolitan Police following using Twitter to ask a muslim woman to “explain Brussels,” but the prosecution was halted following the intervention of the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that the man had been “charged under section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986; publishing or distributing written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, likely or intended to stir up racial hatred,” adding that, “This follows an investigation by officers at Croydon police community safety unit.

Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert Jonathan Bishop criticised the police, saying that the arrest and prosecution of the man sadly comes as no surprise. “The Metropolitan Police still have not learned the lessons from the time of Stephen Lawrence,” he said. “They feel they have to respond to certain enquiries based on the protected characteristics of the alleged victim, in this case a woman that is a muslim, but this amounts simply to benevolent sexism against men and institutional racism against Caucasians.
My research has found that crime recording by South Wales Police is sexist against men when it comes to Internet trolling, and in fact I have found that there are often more than double the amount of arrests and prosecutions of men for Internet trolling than women.
This goes against my other research that finds that most breakdowns in relationships online involve women and their interactions with other women, and the lack of replication of this fact in crime recording seems to be an endemic problem across police forces.

Stalking of author was ’emotional rape’

A man has been convinced following the stalking of an author and her daughter.

Mark Jury, aged 40, of Llangattock in the Brecon Beacons, was found to have stalked Kristine and Kenna Carlson following being told by a psychic that he would meet his future mother-in-law on a plane.

Kristine Carlson and Kenna Carlson were found to have been stalked by Mark Jury.
EMOTIONALLY RAPED: Kristine Carlson and Kenna Carlson were found to have been stalked by Mark Jury. Courtesy: South Wales Evening Post.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard that Mark Jury posted on Twitter, “going to f*** Kenna every day for the rest of her life,” and told Kristine Carlson, “They must have developed Twitter for stalkers.

Judge Richard Twomlow sentenced Mary Jury for stalking Kristine and Kenna Carlson at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court. “You are a delusional and fixational stalker,” Judge Richard Twomlow said. “This was prolonged, determined and frightening conduct.
It caused a deterioration in Kristine Carlson’s life and her daughter said she felt like she had been emotionally raped.”

Fiona Mactaggart’s rallying cry to Labour women MPs

A woman MP, elected via an all-women-shortlist, has spoken up for another woman MP who was equally not elected on merit, because she was the target of what some call Internet trolling.

Fiona Mactaggart, an alternate woman MP who only got into the UK Parliament through affirmative action, said the abuse of fellow alternate woman MP, Jess Phillips, was something that all other Labour women MPs, whether alternates or elected on merit, should take a stand on.

Alternate MP, Fiona Mactaggart, says the fellow alternate Jess Phillips and other women MPs should not be expected to tolerate abuse from members of the public. Courtesy: Obtained from Fiona Mactaggart's website.
SPOKEN IN JESS: Alternate MP, Fiona Mactaggart, says the fellow alternate Jess Phillips and other women MPs should not be expected to tolerate abuse from members of the public. Courtesy: Obtained from Fiona Mactaggart’s website.

After Jess Phillips MP was sent death and rape threats online, Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart joined her and called upon other Labour women MPs to stand up against online abuse. “I know how terrifying this kind of violent threat can be,” Fiona Mactaggart said. “When I was a student a university newspaper published my photograph with the caption ‘would you rape this woman?’

Despite this early exposure to what would be expected of public life, Fiona Mactaggart did not change, going on to become an alternate parliamentarian. “The internet and Twitter has given more people a platform from which to launch such threats and too often they target women,” she said. “I am happy to engage in constructive debates on issues but abuse isn’t a part of the job and nobody in public life should ever expect abhorrent death and rape threats from people who don’t like things they have said,” she concluded.

As both Jess Philips MP and Fiona Mactaggart MP were selected to Labour Party seats via all-women-shortlists, they share a lot in common as alternates. “Jess said that she didn’t think parliament needed to debate discrimination against men until the discrimination against women was tackled,” Fiona Mactaggart said in defence of Jess Phillips not being able to cope with the realities of being a Member of Parliament.

The position of Jess Phillips and Fiona Mactaggart is out of tune with the law. In 2012, Paul Chambers, in what became known as the Twitter joke trial, was acquitted of sending a threatening message because it was found by the court to be unlikely to cause apprehension. Whilst Jess Phillips admits she did not experience any apprehension, her view is contrary to the judgement in both this case (i.e. DPP v Chambers) and Calver v The Adjudication Panel for Wales, which say that politicians need a thicker skin and that abuse from the public is a normal part of being an MP.

Gazza convicted of ‘trolling’ following ‘provocation’

Former England football star, Paul Gascoigne, has been convicted for trolling ex-girlfriend Amanda Thomas by text and on Twitter, and assaulting a paparazzi photographer.

Gascoigne, known to his fans as “Gazza,” was convicted of assaulting photographer, Steven Shepherd, who he had come into contact with following the unwanted attention his ex-girlfriend and him faced from the paparazzi.

Gascoigne’s defence counsel, Gavin Harris, said that Gazza was provoked by Steven Shepherd who was taking pictures of the football hero, who was in a cafe signing autographs and posing for official photographs with fans.

Paul Gascoigne was provoked by a photographer known to his ex-girlfriend a court has heard.
FOOTBALL HERO: Paul Gascoigne was provoked by a photographer known to his ex-girlfriend a court has heard. Courtesy: Scott Heppell/AP

Gascoigne was also convicted of trolling his ex-girlfriend, Amanda Thomas, by text and also on Twitter. Amanda Thomas had entered a relationship with Steven Shepherd’s colleague, Andrew Stone, and told Gascoigne not to contact her again.

Gascoigne was sentenced to a community order for 12 months for the assault of Steven Shepherd and harassment of Amanda Thomas, and given a 2-year restraining order prohibiting him from contracting Amanda Thomas, including via social media.

Jonathan Bishop speaks at diaspora conference

Internet trolling and cyber-bullying expert, Jonathan Bishop, has spoken at Cardiff University’s Diaspora beyond nationalism conference.

Jonathan Bishop, who edited the book ‘Examining the Concepts, Issues and Implications of Internet Trolling,’ made a speech on how Twitter users responded to the 2015 migrant crisis. The speech was entitled: “Sex and age biases in Tweets relating to the 2015 migration crisis.

Jonathan Bishop with Idil Abdi Osman
FEELING THE TWEET: Jonathan Bishop (pictured with Idil Adbi Osman) discusses the reaction of Twitter users to the Migration crisis. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited

Jonathan Bishop, of the Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-Learning Systems, undertook the research, expecting to find references to “women and children first” and that male migrants were “young,” “fit” and “strong.” He did find this, but one Tweet changed the course of his thinking. It read: “If millions of young men had fled Europe instead of fighting Nazi Germany what would Europe be today?”

As Jonathan Bishop explains, his findings have public policy implications. “My view is now that the strong should fight and the weak and vulnerable should be protected,” he said. “Some women are stronger than some men, but all children are vulnerable.
The question therefore needs to be asked: In the same way the Zionist Organisation used World War II as an opportunity to promote the merits of a Jewish diaspora into the Holy Land, is this crisis being used by the strong in Syria as an excuse to go where they think the grass is greener?

Dr Idil Osman is a researcher in the diasporic media involvement in Somali conflict at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University. “Jonathan’s presentation on age and sex biases on Twitter with regards to tweets about the migration crisis was timely and informative,” she said. “It shed light into an under-researched area of social media which for us as media scholars was quite refreshing insightful to listen to.

Louise Mensch in Twitter search history gaffe

MENCHNING NO NAMES: Louise Mensch is a perpetual troll-caller. Courtesy: Louise Mench
MENCHNING NO NAMES: Louise Mensch is a perpetual troll-caller. Courtesy: Louise Mench

Former Tory MP Louise Mensch has faced ridicule over her failed attempt to smear supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

The experienced troll-caller, known for having Frank Zimmerman a suspended jail sentence for trolling her by email, and founder of the failed social networking service, Menschn, has put her foot in it once more.

Louise Mensch posted an image to her Twitter account of what appeared to show auto-complete results when she searched for the details of Labour leadership contender, Liz Kendall. The results, which turned out to be her own searches, were offensive to those Semites from a Jewish background. Louise Mensch was attempting to smear Jeremy Corbyn supporters by saying they were responsible for the queries, when in fact they were Louise Mensch’s own search history.

Internet trolling and Cyberstalking expert, Jonathan Bishop, says there is a precedent for prosecuting Louise Mensch. “We have seen young people like Liam Stacey prosecuted under the Public Order Act 1986 for making racist remarks in retaliation to those who did not like him laughing at the cardiac arrest of Fabrice Muamba, and in DPP v Collins a person was convicted for saying racist remarks to an MP, even though no one of the race concerned heard it.
Louise Mensch cannot cry wolf and then pretend to be a lamb.
If she lives by the sword she should die by the sword.
Why should Louise Mensch go unprosecuted for trolling Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters with racist tweets if she thinks it was right for Frank Zimmerman to be sentenced to jail for trolling her?

Jeremy Corbyn spoke to the World At One programme on BBC Radio 4 about claims he was anti-Semitic towards Jewish Semites, but was not asked of his view about Arab Semites. “The idea that I’m some kind of racist or anti-Semitic person is beyond appalling, disgusting and deeply offensive.” he said. “I have spent my life opposing racism.
Until my dying day I will be opposed to racism in any form.

Judge Seys Llewellyn ‘out of touch’ over Twitter judgement

A Deputy High Court judge has been severely criticised by an Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert on his decision in a defamation case against skeptics Dr Andrew Lewis and Mrs Melanie Byng.

Judge Seys Llewellyn
OUT OF TOUCH: Judge Seys Llewellyn is out of touch according to expert, Jonathan Bishop. Courtesy: Aberystwyth University.

Deputy Judge Anthony Seys Llewellyn dismissed a defamation case brought by Steve Paris and Angel Garden on the grounds that messages posted to Twitter are “ephemeral,” or in other words don’t last a long period of time.

Social media expert Jonathan Bishop says that Judge Seys Llewellyn lacks insight. “Judge Seys Llewellyn is severely out of touch,” he said. “He has not factored in that whilst posts may not be easily visible on a Twitter timeline for any length of time, it is still possible to search for them on the platform, and it is quite possible Google will list tweets high in the search engine results.”

Judge Seys Llewellyn justified his decision saying that the pleadings of the defendants in the case were; “compelling as to the unlikelihood of a re-tweet by either of them directly causing a significant number of others for the first time to read the original tweet, or thereby to read for the first time the material to which the original tweet links“.

Michael McIntyre photograph ‘probably illegal’

A photograph taken of Michael McIntyre by the National Police Air Service and posted to Twitter was probably illegal an Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert has said.

Jonathan Bishop said that the actions of National Police Air Service in capturing an image of Michael McIntyre outside the Global Radio offices in Leicester Square in London before posting it on Twitter is a breach of privacy. “Whilst photographing people in public places is generally legal, where it involved the use of a telephoto lens then it is generally illegal,” he said. “One could argue that photographing a celebrity from the air is no different to using a telephoto lens.
“It is probably illegal, but on the other hand the Leveson Inquiry makes it clear that celebrities deserve less privacy than everyone else.
On that basis, if the police helicopter was part of the media then it might be fine, but one should question whether it is in the public interest for the police to go out of their way to specifically capture Michael McIntyre on camera when he is not suspected of any offence.
“One could see the actions of the National Police Air Service as amounting to state-sanctioned cyber-stalking.”