We shouldn’t want Twitter to handle harassment like Olympics GIF takedowns

From The Verge:

Since the Olympics started earlier this month, its parent organization and broadcaster NBC have worked hard to smack down any unauthorized use (which basically amounts to any use) of its video footage. This includes ordering Twitter to remove sublime works of art like Jimmy Donofrio’s mashup of an Olympics swimming race and Santana’s “Smooth,” among other posts. And as some people have noticed, Twitter is apparently doing so with a lot more zeal than it seems to devote to purging harassment.

Twitter has unambiguously failed so far at curbing abuse. As a BuzzFeed piece last week showed, there are also indications that it’s more responsive to high-profile figures whose departure or censure could hurt the platform. We don’t know how many resources Twitter has devoted to copyright versus harassment; we reached out via email yesterday, but haven’t heard back yet. But that doesn’t change the fact that holding up copyright as an example of good, responsive policing needs to stop.

NBC: remove all tweets with our olympics footage

Twitter: of course

Girl: a guy is harassing me

Twitter: we don’t have the tools for that

Copyright law is broken, and has been for decades. It treats shared culture as personal property, is unduly influenced by huge media companies, and creates all kinds of harmful unintended consequences. Online takedown systems are often broken, too. As journalist Sarah Jeong wrote two years ago, automated tools like YouTube’s content ID are blunt instruments of questionable efficacy, based on simply comparing material to a database of copyrighted media. Companies that process claims by hand (which Twitter seems to, although it hasn’t confirmed this to us) still tend to hurriedly take content down first and ask questions later, a move that’s ripe for abuse …

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