Twitter's suspension of the @whaledump account today raises an interesting question about the micro-blogging medium: Which accounts it suspends and which ones it doesn't?
Whaledump would appear to be in direct violation of Twitter's Content Boundaries and Use of Twitter which specify "You may not publish or post other people's private and confidential information."
Clearly Whaledump was publishing links to "private and confidential" information in the form of stolen emails from Cameron Slater's Gmail and Facebook accounts, so it does appear to breach the rules.
Following that logic, will Twitter also suspend this account?
Part 2: Judith Collins and the smoking gun. Why did the Minister of Justice quit so suddenly? http://t.co/66nkUjXAD1— Matt Nippert (@MattNippert) August 30, 2014
And what about this Twitter account, which appears to do exactly the same thing?
Judith Collins is depicted in alleged social media chats discussing the leak of evidence in a high profile case: http://t.co/IHWiHYwXAv— nzherald (@nzherald) September 1, 2014
They would appear, after all, to be accomplices in this breach of Twitter's rules.
All of these accounts and many, many more - including Radio New Zealand - have been publishing links to copies of, or discussions about, "private and confidential information" in the form of stolen emails from Cameron Slater's Gmail and Facebook accounts.
And the best example of a Twitter account doing what Whaledump does is the following, so why hasn't it been suspended?
So the question for Twitter is why has @whaledump been suspended when these other accounts have not, when they are all, on the face of it, guilty of the same breach of Twitter's rules?
We've asked Twitter directly and are awaiting a response.
Twitter will likely say it is because someone made a complaint. A complaint that appears to have been dealt with very swiftly.
If Cameron Slater makes a complaint about media accounts using Twitter to point to details of emails stolen from his inbox, will those accounts also be suspended? If not, why not?
The irony is that @whaledump has simply created a new account in a game of digital "whack-a-mole" and will just carry on. Another complaint will be made, another account will be squashed, and another Twitter account will be created. And on and on it will go.
So the grief for Cameron Slater and Judith Collins will continue and no doubt some people will enjoy that. But what if it was you? What if your private emails, photos or Facebook discussions were hacked and highlighted through Twitter?
What this case appears to expose is that you, the police and even Twitter itself are powerless to stop it.
And so is this type of media anarchy what we really want? If not, the only solution would appear to be to suspend Twitter?
If it is, then may God help us all.
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