Internet trolls; whether on message boards, social media sites or even in online games, we've all faced them. But are the owners of web services really doing enough to stamp them out? After receiving a barrage of racist abuse and even death threats, ex-footballer Stan Collymore has called out Twitter as preferring to protect its bank balance rather than its users.
"In the last 24 hours I've been threatened with murder several times, demeaned on my race, and many of these accounts are still active. Why?" wrote Collymore, who endured a particularly vile stream of messages after suggesting Liverpool striker Luis Saurez cheated by diving in a match against Aston Villa at the weekend.
"I accuse Twitter directly of not doing enough to combat racist/homophobic /sexist hate messages, all of which are illegal in the UK."
Collymore, now a footballing pundit, extended his argument, speaking on Radio 4's Today programme on the abuse he had faced on the microblogging network:
I just wonder whether a couple of months after a stock market flotation on the New York Stock Exchange that monetises the amount of users, that this is Twitter looking at the number of pounds or dollars rather than its social responsibility. There have been people that I know who have reported individual accounts and have reported to the Met police and various police stations around the country and racist abuse has stayed on people’s timelines for months. We’re not talking days, we’re talking months.
Collymore has praised Staffordshire police, who are now actively investigating the abuse, but didn't spare any such praise for Twitter, as he is still awaiting the service to provide police with evidence from an incident six weeks prior.
Considering Collymore's strong presence on Twitter (with almost 512,000 followers at the time of writing), it's particularly shocking -- if Collymore can't even get Twitter's ear in order to defend himself from the trolls, how could someone suffering similar abuse without a high-profile follower count do so? [Telegraph]