harassing messages

I would like to highlight one of the comments posted in reference to Friendster censoring images. Mer quite succinctly reflects the problem with Friendster’s decision to censor – namely the arbitrary nature of it. In her post, she raises concern that Friendster is willing to censor images arbitrarily, but does not censor messages that could be construed as hate or harassment (or their senders). It will be interesting to see what the implications of their haphazard use of censorship will be.

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3 thoughts on “harassing messages

  1. Mer

    The bulletin board bleeping weirded me out as well. Stupid Friendster. Too bad it’s more addictive than crack rock.

  2. Jen

    In regards to Friendster, you’re making an assumption behind their decision-making, which is that they’re giving this issue even a modicum of rational thought. Even if they are, I can assure you that whoever has been given permission to execute this policy is probably a) not well trained, b) completely overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to do or c) some combination of the above. Due to the amount of volume they must have, policies such as these will never be well-executed, will always be up to the arbitrary decision of some empowered customer care agent type, and will more often than not be unevenly applied. It’s actually a very difficult job (I’ve had the pleasure of having to outline such standards at Yahoo and try to train people to implement them. It’s a hair-tearing experience.).

    In short, you’re looking for logic in the wrong place. They’ve created a beast they can’t possibly control, and they will likely overreact as long as the lawyers are scaring the hell out of them.

    Additionally, when it comes to harassment claims, unless you’re willing to sign an affadavit that you’re actually being harassed (stalked or otherwise), those claims are usually viewed as a he said/she said exchange where the Company (here, Friendster) rarely gets directly involved. You’ll probably be directed to contact your local law enforcement agency if you think you’re in a life-threatening situation.

    That’s life for you on large-scale online community spaces. Welcome home!

  3. Scott

    I had a big long thing to say on this and Jen nailed it with “looking for logic in the wrong place”.

    It’s fundamental to the Terms everyone agrees to when they sign up. Phrases such as “sole judgement”, “reserve the right” and my new favorite, “but has no obligation” are in key spots in many such agreements that basically sum up to – we will do what we want, when we want and in what manner we want.

    It’s kind of symbiotic. The people running the services want participants. The people participating want services that lets them explore. There need to be some kind of agreement. At the moment, it’s in the favor of the people running the services.

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