Graduate Library/Info Science Student. I like things. This is a many-fandom many-book blog, where I post things I like.
Disclaimer: In no way does anything I post here reflect the views of my employer.
So this is a conversation I had with somebody from Netsafe, an internet security organization in New Zealand. They are the ones who deal with cyberbullying in New Zealand. I have bolded the most important parts, but I suggest that those of you who have been dealing with threats on Tumblr read the whole thing.
The most important part of this whole exchange:
1. If Tumblr receives a court order to remove a post, they will remove it.
2. It is possible to get Tumblr to answer to us if enough people on Tumblr complain, as has happened with Facebook a few times.
I wrote to Netsafe:
I am a New Zealand resident who would like to report cyberbullying and harassment that is taking place on the Tumblr.com website in direct violation of Tumblr’s Terms of Service. I have already contacted them, and they responded by saying that they support “freedom of speech,” as if that is somehow relevant to my complaint.Their Terms of Service is here: http://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/terms_of_service and if you look under part 3. Subscriber content, you can see that it says, “ Subscriber represents, warrants and agrees that it will not contribute any Subscriber Content that(d) is libelous, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harassing, hateful, offensive or otherwise violates any law or right of any third party.”It also says, “Under no circumstances will Subscriber use the Site or the Service to (b) harass, threaten, stalk or abuse any person or party, including other users of the Site.”This person told me twice to kill myself. She told another person that she wanted them to get raped with a fish hook. She stated that children who commit suicide due to cyberbullying are just carrying out natural selection. She is a danger to the very people and children who are susceptible to suicide, as she finds victims, stalks, and harasses them. Tumblr is not enforcing its own Terms of Service.I have attached screenshots of the offending comments, and the links to those comments are below:
Thank you for your email. This kind of content on any site is distressing and disturbing. Tumblr is a site which is quite transparent about the lack of responsibility it takes regarding content. You have quite correctly copied from their terms and conditions that they say subscribers will not…….
They also say:
Tumblr reserves the right to remove any Subscriber Content from the Site, suspend or terminate Subscriber’s right to use the Services at any time, or pursue any other remedy or relief available to Tumblr and/or the Site under equity or law, for any reason (including, but not limited to, upon receipt of claims or allegations from third parties or authorities relating to such Subscriber Content or if Tumblr is concerned that Subscriber may have breached the immediately preceding sentence), or for no reason at all.
However further down the terms, they completely cover themselves by saying
7. Warranty disclaimer
Tumblr has no special relationship with or fiduciary duty to Subscriber. Subscriber acknowledges that Tumblr has no control over, and no duty to take any action regarding: which users gains access to the Site; which Content Subscriber accesses via the Site; what effects the Content may have on Subscriber; how Subscriber may interpret or use the Content; or what actions Subscriber may take as a result of having been exposed to the Content. Much of the Content of the Site is provided by and is the responsibility of the user or subscriber who posted the Content. Tumblr does not monitor the Content of the Site and takes no responsibility for such Content. Subscriber releases Tumblr from all liability for Subscriber having acquired or not acquired Content through the Site. The Site may contain, or direct Subscriber to sites containing, information that some people may find offensive or inappropriate. Tumblr makes no representations concerning any content contained in or accessed through the Site, and Tumblr will not be responsible or liable for the accuracy, copyright compliance, legality or decency of material contained in or accessed through the Site.
So Tumblr is quite clear that they don’t guarantee that they will do anything about any content. Unfortunately when you accept the terms of Tumblr in signing up you have agreed to this. Most people (myself included) don’t read the terms of a website before they sign up and we do need to get better at doing this.
What this means practically is that it would be advisable not to use Tumblr because in doing so you are exposed to harassment or worse with basically no recourse. It is quite awful, however they are clear about their message.
I know this doesn’t seem like it is much help, however it is the reality of many sites on the internet and we all need to be aware of this.
If you want to discuss this further, or have other questions, you can of course contact me by email or freephone 0508 NETSAFE.
I responded:The reason I wrote to Netsafe was because Tumblr is doing nothing about it. I do not need to leave Tumblr, as this has little to do with me. I am concerned that this person is putting OTHER people in danger; people who are at risk of self-harm. Many of the people I associate with on Tumblr are abuse survivors. I was hoping Netsafe could do something since Tumblr is too busy spouting their “free speech” rhetoric to care about at-risk victims.Are you saying that if Tumblr chose to do something completely illegal, there is no outside force that could do anything?Their response:Thanks for getting back to me and good question. My understanding (and we are not legally trained at NetSafe) is that if Tumblr were doing something illegal (under US law) they certainly would be able to be investigated and action taken against them. Also if anyone on the site was posting something that breaches US law then they would also be investigated.The treats to rape which are in one of the messages you forwarded are certainly illegal in NZ (any threats to harm are) and I would imagine (though I don’t know for sure) that that would be illegal in USA. The person against whom the threats are made needs to make a report to their local Police. The other offensive comments, name calling etc would not necessarily be illegal here in NZ and Tumblr (from their terms) are not obliged to remove them. Tumblr also says
· Illegal Use. Tumblr may not be used for illegal purposes. Examples of this include using Tumblr for fraudulent purposes or operating a phishing site (used to obtain account and password information).
· Spam. Users that do not publish meaningful content, use deceptive means to generate revenue or traffic, or whose primary purpose is affiliate marketing, will be suspended.
· Identity Theft and Privacy. Users that misleadingly appropriate the identity of another person are not permitted. Users may not post other people’s personally identifying or confidential information, including but not limited to credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, and driver’s and other license numbers. You may not post information such as other people’s passwords, usernames, phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses unless already publicly accessible on the Web.
· Hate Content, Defamation, and Libel. Hate speech and other objectionable content that is unlawful, defamatory, and fraudulent. Note that an allegation of defamatory expression, in and of itself, does not establish defamation. The truth or falsehood of a bit of expression is a key element in establishing defamation, and we are not in a position to make that sort of fact-based judgment. That said, if we have reason to believe that a particular statement is defamatory (a court order, for example), we will remove that statement.
So basically what Tumblr are saying is that they will remove some things under a Court Order.I also looked up some of the laws in the US and found the following:
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes website from any liability resulting from the publication of information provided by another. This usually arises in the context of defamation, but several courts have expanded it to cover other sorts of claims as well.
Thus, if a user posts defamatory or otherwise illegal content, Section 230 shields the social network provider from any liability arising out of the publication. Websites that, in whole or in part, create or develop contested information, on the other hand, are deemed “content providers” that do not benefit from the protections of Section 230.
A recent 9th Circuit opinion has called the section’s broad coverage into question, and created uncertainty for social networking sites that have relied on Section 230 to protect them from claims relating to the content that their users create.
This may have changed by now after that 9th Circuit opinion and could well be different in different States in the US too.
I would suggest that the person or people who are targeted with the comments need to go to their local Police (if they are in the US). If they are not then there will be even more difficulty in getting any action against these posts.
The difficulty is that Tumblr have put in place a lot of disclaimers so unless the Tumblr users complain sufficiently to convince them to take action, it is very difficult. For example Facebook has certainly become more conscious of providing a better service to its users as a result of dissatisfaction expressed to them. On the internet it is often the community of users that drive change.
I hope that this is helpful.
The thing that’s weird to me is that Tumblr’s community guidelines (where they explicitly say harassment or threats of violence are not allowed) also say that if the guidelines are violated they reserve the right to remove the offending party from the site.
If people are clearly violating their community guidelines why are they ignoring it instead of using the right they have to remove the abusive parties? This seems like willful disregard of their user’s safety and mental health.
Tumblr’s not the only site to have done this, there are tons of cases on Facebook where someone requests a photo or status or group be removed for their hatespeech, abuse, or bullying and they are not.
Why do social media sites not take the right they have to defend the abused on their sites, and instead take the side of the abusers by defending their freedom of speech or by taking no action?
I am not saying they don’t have the right to freedom of speech. What I am saying is that the community guidelines on every social media site I have visited has a disclaimer that they can remove threatening or abusive posts, or users. It is a right that they reserve, legally. So why do they refuse to implement it to protect their users?
I wish you earned money in real life like you do in video games
by destroying your enemies
And shaking trees
breaking pots and vases does the opposite in real life
brb gonna go desecrate some ancient nordic tombs and steal gold from walking skeletons.