Social media has caused a transformation in the way in which we share, receive and distribute news Individuals have a voice that is much louder and more strongly dispersed through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter Twitter has an ability to facilitate mass discussion and debate What happens when this debate is aimed at one person and is faceless, hurtful and threatening?
Prominent Australian celebrity Charlotte Dawson was subject to personal attacks on Twitter Channel Nines’s 60 Minutes: Dawson outed a cyber troll who had attacked one of her Twitter supporters Channel Seven’s Today Tonight: Dawson tweeted “New Zealand is small, nasty and vindictive. It’s a tiny little village… A tiny country on the end of the earth” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrwnBGsyX8o
How do we deal with the malicious comments tweeted by these individuals? Where do we draw the line? What about the trending hashtag #diecharlotte and re-tweeting? The nature of the internet and regulation The Convergence Review (2012): “No regulation at all is necessary in the global digital world” Self regulation of internet users, is it enough?
Dawson: “Attack me all you want, I’m a public figure not a human being. You can sling an arrow at me, I don’t have feelings, I don’t have vulnerabilities so go me. I don’t care.” Dawson herself has made a career out of making brutal comments on the TV show Australia’s Next Top Model Was this an attack bound to happen?
Dawson: “I had felt that because I am quite public and people know where I am and what I do that my safety could be in danger” Dr Andrew Morrison from the Australian Lawyers Alliance believes Dawson’s only option is to seek an AVO against the tweeters The tweets invite Dawson to harm herself and do not suggest violence will be directed towards her Could not be prosecuted against under Australian law
Is Dawson’s case an issue of freedom of speech? Australia has no express right to freedom of speech Assumed right, whether comments are justifiable or not Twitter member Sieg Heil: “Freedom of speech… Go kill yourself” What can be done to remedy these actions when they are being made in a public domain?
Questions of whether the whole issue was purposely incited as publicity for Dawson’s new book Little sympathy being given to Dawson Many believe that as a public figure Dawson should not be so “sensitive” Should Dawson just “get offline”?
Twitter: “You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others” Were the threats direct? Tweets encouraged Dawson to harm herself No individual said they would come after Dawson Twitter accounts involved in the incident have been suspended
Not possible to monitor every piece of content that is uploaded to the internet The ACMA has been forced to rely on a self regulatory approach Schedule 5 and 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992: The ACMA has the power to investigate complaints about online content Dawson could appeal to the ACMA directly but what would it achieve? Content has already been removed by Twitter
The Daily Telegraph and the “Stop the Trolls” campaign Zero tolerance approach to cyber bullying Barrage of celebrities coming forward with their own stories
The Daily Telegraph under attack as a result Richard Ackland from The SMH: “A magnificent tension between the old information world and the new” Jonathan Green from The Drum wrote an article titled “The staggering hypocrisy of the super trollers” Richard Ford: Mixed reaction from the public due to Dawson’s “over sharing” of personal information The ACMA and the “Protect yourself against trolling” section of their website
Australian Government Com Law. Through the Australian Government homepage. Retrieved September 15, 2012, from http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2012C00624 Channel Nine News. Through the Ninemsn homepage. Retrieved September 14, 2012, from http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8526323/dawson-opens-up-about-cyber-bullying Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. (2012). Convergence Review. pp. vii-176 Online regulation. Through the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) homepage. Retrieved September 14, 2012, from http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_90154 Pearson, M. and Polden, M. (2011). The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law. Crows Nest. Australia. Allen and Unwin. R, Ackland. (Friday 14th of September, 2012). Sometimes, it takes a troll to know one. The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 13 Sixty Minutes. Through Ninemsn homepage. Retrieved September 14, 2012, from http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8525498 Sunrise: Charlotte Dawson speaks out. Through YouTube homepage. Retrieved September 15, 2012, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrwnBGsyX8o The Daily Telegraph. Through News Corporation website. Retrieved September 14, 2012, from http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-news/our-campaign-for-whom-the-bell-now-trolls/story- e6freuzi-1226472968657 The Drum. Through the ABC website. Retrieved September 14, 2012, from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012- 09-13/green-staggering-hypocrisy-of-the-supertrollers/4257706 The Herald Sun. Through Fairfax website. Retrieved September 14, 2012, from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/charlotte-dawson-how-the-cyber-trolls-beat-me/story-e6frf7jo- 1226463635667 The Twitter Rules. Through the Twitter homepage. Retrieved September 14, 2012, from https://support.twitter.com/groups/33-report-abuse-or-policy-violations/topics/121-guidelines-best- practices/articles/18311-the-twitter-rules# Today Tonight: The hateful twitter campaign directed at Charlotte Dawson. Through YouTube homepage. Retrieved September 14, 2012, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH2meMU5Mac Today Tonight. Through Yahoo! Seven News. Retrieved September 14, 2012, from http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/celebrity/article/-/14700932/twitter-tirade/
Should the tweeters be punished? If so, how and where do we draw the line? Is it a case of “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”? Did Charlotte get what she deserves? Did Dawson handle the situation in the correct way by going public or should she just “get offline”? Do you think The Daily Telegraph’s “Stop the Trolls” campaign is justifiable? What do you feel its purpose is? Would the issue of trolling have gained the same amount of momentum and coverage if the individual that was attacked wasn’t a celebrity?