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The internet is a vast and wonderful thing. It allows for instant access of information and the free dissemination of ideas from people of all walks of life. But this isn't always a good thing.
There's plenty of people who use the anonymity of the internet to tear others down and spread hate.
Trolling is, according to OxfordDictionaries.com, "the act of making deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them." Trolling is not constructive. It does not add to the sense of community. Its sole purpose is to threaten, upset, or intimidate others online.
Nearly as long as they have been around, social media companies have turned a blind eye to this problem. The problem is vast and requires companies to have serious discussions about the kind of behavior they want to play host to. No one is saying these conversations will be easy, but they must take place.
Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are some of the most popular social media platforms in existence. None of them have terms of service which ban trolling outright. Twitters own top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, has admitted the company has been "inexcusably slow" in fighting off vicious online abuse.
If the internet is to be the democratizing force it was dreamed of becoming, these social media sites must provide a safe space for people to share their views without resorting to intimidation through trolling.
Trolling is the ultimate anti-social behavior. Tell Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to revise their terms of service to ban trolling.
Dear Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki,
I am writing to ask you to revise your companys terms of service to ban the act of trolling on your social media platforms.
OxfordDictionaries.com defines trolling as "the act of making deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them. "Trolling is not constructive. It does not add to the sense of community. Its sole purpose is to threaten, upset, or intimidate others online. Having users whose sole goal of using your service to tear down others does not reflect positively on your business and hurts many people, often minority voices, in the process.
I am asking you to take a clear and deliberate stand against trolling on your social media platforms. Protections of free speech in the First Amendment are designed to protect against government censorship. It does not limit you from controlling what behavior and speech will or will not be tolerate on your privately owned websites.
Please, do the right thing. Ban anti-social behavior from your platforms and get rid of trolls that would use it as a tool to hurt and demean others.