This morning, Twitter covered Ken "Popehat" White's profile page in balloons to celebrate his birthday. This afternoon, it suspended his account for posting screenshots of threats he'd received from another user.
The ranting missive, from a far-right lawyer in Texas whose threatening Twitter postings White had earlier mocked, promises such hatred and cruelty that White will want to kill himself or flee to "escape my wrath."
But it was White's response that fell afoul of Twitter's mysterious rules on posting personally identifying information—even when such information is disclosed and widely publicized.
Twitter is a private company. It has every right to suspend me or kick me off, however foolish its reason. It's got the right to free speech and free association. My rights have not been violated. I am not a victim. When you use a "free" service like Twitter and Facebook, you're buying into the policies and attitudes they pursue, for better or worse. Want a platform with no dumb policies? Create one or pay for one.
For the moment, I doubt this reflects an evaluation by anyone at Twitter that "it's okay for a deranged bigot to threaten people on Twitter but not okay to publish his threats." Rather, this is part of the inevitable result of automating responses to abuse complaints. Now, if Twitter reviews this, and thinks that's the right result — well, that would be something else again.
Twitter is still where the abusive can rail on and on before they get canned, while anyone with an earnest interest in using the site in good faith must adhere to vague, unhelpful policies in how they deal with all that trash. Read the rest
It's presumably OK to eat a banana in a seductive fashion in China. But the official word is out that live-streaming the act is now forbidden.
The move is the authorities' latest attempt to clamp down on "inappropriate and erotic" online content. In April, the Ministry of Culture announced it was investigating a number of popular live-streaming platforms for allegedly hosting pornographic or violent content that "harms social morality". News of the banana ban has prompted thousands of users to chime in on Chinese social media.
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3D-printed handgun replica iPhone cases have been around for years as a joke. Now that street vendors and online shops are selling realistically-detailed versions, consumer and safety advocates are calling for bans. Read the rest
Cigarettes are among the many fun things prohibited in the area controlled by Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq. The Associated Press interviews a smuggler daring to defy them.
“I swear, it’s out of hunger,” he said he pleaded with the men. The father of six told them he was the only breadwinner for his extended family and was helping his neighbors as well.
The fighters took him to the checkpoint commander, who warned Jamil he’d go to prison and his car would be confiscated. Jamil promised never to do it again. “Just let me go this time for the sake of my children,” he said. “If I don’t have money, what can I do? Should I steal? If I steal, you’ll cut off my hand.”
Among the other things banned by ISIS is the breeding of pigeons.
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ISIS also demands that locals report anybody who continues the practice of pigeon breeding to the ISIS religious police, Hisbah. According to the order, those violating the ban for the first time will be flogged and fined a substantial sum of money, while repeat offenders will be jailed in an ISIS prison.
It was widely assumed earlier, when the rumors about the ISIS pigeon ban began to circulate, that the reason for such a measure was the use of pigeons for smuggling anti-ISIS messages or cigarettes.
However, the document clearly states that the ban “is intended to put a stop to the greater criminal act of harming one's Muslim and Muslim women neighbors, revealing the [pigeon's] genitals and wasting time,” the Daily Mail quoted it as saying.
Despite the opposition of mayor Hal Marx, the Petal Board of Aldermen recently voted unanimously on the measure, reports Yolanda Cruz of The Hattiesburg American, claiming they are "hazardous" and designed to "attract children." Read the rest
This summer, some 125,000 attendees will overcrowd the supernaturally inadequate San Diego Convention Center. But at least you won't be walking into selfie sticks! The new technology rules explicitly prohibit the annoying appendages.
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No Selfie Sticks or Similar Devices at Comic-Con
We know you want that perfect photo of yourself and the gang at Comic-Con and your arms just aren’t long enough, but please be aware that selfie sticks, GoPro poles, or any device that extends your camera or phone away from your hand, are not allowed at Comic-Con. With so many people in attendance, protruding cameras or phones sticking up in the air are a definite hazard. If you’re caught with a selfie stick, you will be asked by security to put it away and not use it at Comic-Con. This includes all of the Convention Center: Exhibit Hall, Programming and Event rooms, etc., and on Convention Center grounds outside, and any official Comic-Con events outside the Center, including the Marriott Marquis, Manchester Grand Hyatt, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, and Omni San Diego hotels, the Horton Grand Theatre, and the San Diego Central Library.
The company will no longer allow sellers to offer magical incantations, sorcery or other metaphysical boons. Read the rest
The company will honor requests to remove intimate photographs, posted online without the subject's consent, from search results. Read the rest
Salman Masood: "A ban on YouTube, which Pakistan imposed after an anti-Islam video caused riots in much of the Muslim world, was lifted Saturday, only to be reinstated — after three minutes — when it was discovered that blasphemous material was still available on the site." Read the rest