Should Twitter Be Liable for Hate Speech

by Donald Scarinci
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As Twitter’s popularity continues to climb, so must its social responsibility. The responsibility it must uphold plays an even larger role when well-respected public figures are looking to maintain a positive image. Fresh off his victory in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, Cory Booker is another individual who frequently uses Twitter. Booker’s profile, which has grown to over 1.4 million followers, plays an impactful role on both his presence in a social context, as well as the image he portrays to society. As a result of this, Cory Booker, along with other public figures, should be careful as to how they deal with any type of negative feedback from users of the social media tool.

Twitter recently announced a new policy designed to combat threatening and abusive content. The change came amidst public outcry in the United Kingdom over a barrage of threatening Tweets received by two-high profile women. The first target, Caroline Criado-Perez, helped land British novelist Jane Austen on the country’s currency. The activist was rewarded with rape and death threats. While she notified Twitter of the threatening messages, it did little to stop the abuse.

"I think I just feel under siege because it's been going on for five days now, and it's been so relentless," Criado-Perez told BBC. "The threats have been so explicit and so graphic that obviously ... they have sort of stuck with me in my head and have really put me in fear, I realized."

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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