Wednesday, August 01, 2012

With user-generated content, service providers need reliable due process; a Twitter case

One sensitive topic in the “user generated content” world is “due process” by service providers when deactivating accounts after complaints, perceived TOS violations, or perhaps automated spam detection procedures.  Because of the huge numbers of users and content items, appeals and due process procedures themselves are very automated and proprietary, and sometimes things can fall through the cracks.

The Center for Democracy and Technology has a position paper on the issue, authors Erica Newland, Caroline Nolan, Cynthia Wong, and Jillian York, bridge link to PDF here
The paper suggests, for example, that when other visitors report abuse, they should have to cite specific policy reasons.  Another is to provide a vehicle for data export or liberation.

The existence of due process can be an important issue for users who may want to package their content for business deals with other media outlets.
Electronic Frontier Foundation has an article yesterday by Jillian C. York, arguing specifically that Twitter needs to have an appeals process.  The specific incident has to do with the deactivation of the account of Guy Adams for publishing an email address of an NBC executive, when it had been available for over a year.  The Deeplinks story is here.

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