Here’s another Blognet episode. This one’s from five years ago today, the time when Twitter’s so-called Safety operation was beginning to crack down on conservative users but could still be counted on to suspend dangerous harassers.
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NARRATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
MUSIC: Up, then under …
NARRATOR: You’re a Detective Sergeant. You’re assigned to Internet Detail. A group of bloggers and their commenters are being cyberstalked and harassed on Twitter. Your job … stop it.
MUSIC: Up then under …
ANNOUNCER: Blognet … the documented drama of an actual case. For the next few minutes, in cooperation with the Twitter Town Sheriff’s Department, you will travel step by step on the side of the good guys through an actual case transcribed from official files. From beginning to end, from crime to punishment, Blognet is the story of the good guys in action.
MUSIC: Up and out.
SOUND: Footsteps in hallway.
FRIDAY: It was Wednesday, May 27th. It had been raining but the skies were clearing in Westminster. We were working the evening watch out of Internet Detail. My partner’s Liz Smith. The Boss is Twitter Town Sheriff W. J. J. Hoge. My name’s Friday. It was 8:27 pm when I returned to Room S-140. Internet Detail.
SOUND: Door opens. Footsteps across room.
SMITH: So this isn’t the first time this has happened? … I see. … But you were able to get back on Twitter, weren’t you? … Uh, huh. …
SOUND: Chair pulled out.
SMITH: So you repurposed that account. … Have you heard anything from Twitter? … They usually send an email. … Nothing? … Did they respond to that? … Yeah, but that’s probably from an autoresponder. … Yes, we’ll certainly look in to this. … No. … Just forward any emails to us. … That’s right. … Actually, my desk is clear at the moment. I’ll get right on it. … No problem. … Good Night.
FRIDAY: I picked up the printer steganography report from the lab. The samples matched.
What was that?
SMITH: Thanks, Joe. Another bloggers had his Twitter account suspended. Same M.O. as last time.
FRIDAY: Uh, huh. Timberland?
SMITH: I don’t think so, but probably one of his buddies. It looks like Parvocampus.
FRIDAY: What do you base that on?
SMITH: Parvocampus is suing a bunch of bloggers and commenters. You know that he’s never actually won any of his previous suits. He withdrew one after only a couple of days, and none of the others survived a motion to dismiss.
SMITH: So he’s got a hearing on a motion to dismiss coming. He’s been full of bluster on Twitter, but the only reaction he seems to be getting is mocking laughter.
FRIDAY: You think he filed a bogus complaint with Twitter in retaliation for being mocked?
SMITH: Something like that. Yeah.
FRIDAY: I was about to ask a rhetorical question about whether or not he’ll ever learn, but I think I know the answer.
FRIDAY: Some people are uneducable.
MUSIC: Stinger and under.
FRIDAY: Liz got to work researching the case. 10:19 pm.
SMITH: Joe, look at this. Parvocampus is crowing on his Twitter account about the suspension, and he’s claiming that he had nothing to do with it.
FRIDAY: Do you believe him?
FRIDAY: Well, keep digging.
We monitored both of Parvocampus’ most used Twitter accounts over the next 24 hours looking for additional information. Several tweets about multiple people stood out. We documented them and took what we had to the Sheriff. Thursday, May 28th, 11:00 pm.
SMITH: It’s a good thing you stuck your head in this late, Boss. We’ve got something.
SHERIFF: Whatcha got?
SMITH: It’s Parvocampus. Take a look at these.
SOUND: Paper shuffling.
SHERIFF: He has lost it. Does he think he can get away with asking people to harass a blogger?
FRIDAY: And he wants the harassment because someone other than the blogger was posting thing he doesn’t like.
SOUND: Paper shuffling.
SHERIFF: These all have at least one Twitter TOS violation or another.
SMITH: Take a look at this one.
SHERIFF: OK. That tears it. He may not mean that as a threat, but we need to get this to Safety at Twitter. Oh, and forward it to every agency we know that is looking at Parvocampus.
SMITH: I’ll get on it.
FRIDAY: I wonder if Parvocampus hangs out with Charlie Sheen?
SHERIFF: I doubt it. Why?
FRIDAY: He has a strange idea of what it means to be “winning.”
MUSIC: Up and under.
NARRATOR: On May 29th, Twitter Safety conducted an investigation in the activity on Parvocampus’ accounts. In a moment, the result of that investigation.
ANNOUNCER: Here in Westminster, we’re having those pleasant late spring evenings when it’s nice to sit on the porch and sip a cold drink while listening to crickets and watching the lightning bugs. I’ve been sipping mine from a Res Judicata travel mug. It’s just one of the goodies exclusively available for you to spend your hard-earned cash on at The Hogewash Store. Stop by today, and spend some cash to support Team Lickspittle. You can also show your support by hitting the Tip Jar.
NARRATOR: On May 29th, Twitter Safety conducted an investigation in the activity on Parvocampus’ accounts. One account was suspended for abusive behavior. The other was suspended for making threats. As of now, no determination has been made as to whether either suspension should be permanent.
MUSIC: Theme up and under.
ANNOUNCER: You have just heard Blognet, a series of authentic cases from official files. Technical advice comes from the office of the Twitter Town Sheriff’s Department.
MUSIC: Theme up to music out.
ANNOUNCER: Blognet is a work of fiction. Anyone who thinks it’s about him should read Proverbs 28:1.
This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.
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Would Orwell have renamed today’s Twitter Safety MiniSafe? Or would he have incorporated it into MiniLuv?