Twitter is a strange creature. For all the talk in the media about people being “brought to justice” over abusive tweets to celebrities, there’s an awful lot of stuff that escapes the monitoring radar on there.
Granted, Facebook isn’t that much better, but at least it gives clear instructions of how to report content that users may find offensive (indeed, through mine and other users’ self-policing, we have been able to assist in getting a number of racist Facebook pages removed in the past).
On Twitter, there seems to be no obvious option of reporting abusive tweets and/or abusive users. Clicking “more” next to a tweet only comes up with the options of emailing/embedding a tweets; whereas the drop-down menu next to the username only allows us to block the user or report them for spam.
“Reporting for spam” is a hell of a blanket term and may work for Twitter’s countless porn bots/fake profiles, but there seems to be no relevant option when it comes to cyber-bullies, and, in particular, those who are racist (who I’m most concerned with).
Take this idiot, “Damesy10”, who I’ve recently come across. Despite being openly prejudice towards blacks and Asians, he remains active on Twitter.
Actually, to report a user and a particular tweet, you are required to use the following link: https://support.twitter.com/forms/abusiveuser (I suggest bookmarking it for future reference, like I have). Even with this link, though, forwarding a particularly offensive tweet to the Twitter authorities is far from simple.
What you actually have to do is “expand” the tweet that concerns you by clicking on it, which will then reveal a “details” link underneath:
Click this and you will be given a specific link to the tweet in your url bar. Copy this link and then paste it into the “abusive tweets” form where it says “link to tweet”. Fill in the rest of the blanks on the form and you’re good to go.
Of course, reporting doesn’t guarantee the removal of the content from Twitter (the same can be said of Facebook). The best method, I’ve found, is to build your own online policing team and mass report and counteract. It is mostly through persistent badgering that the authorities behind these social networks start to take your claims seriously and actually then take action. It does work, but it mostly takes time.
Some people may want to go further and get the police involved. Personally, this is an option I am not particularly comfortable with (for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here), but for all those interested, you can report online hate crime(s) centrally here: https://secure.met.police.uk/hatecrime_internet/.
Contrary to popular belief, comments/posts deemed to be racist, fascist, violent and/or hateful are breaches of the UK’s Communications Act, 2003 (no matter where the website is hosted): http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/127 So anyone saying they have a right to exercise their “freedom of speech” by being prejudice are actually committing a crime.