Over the weekend Twitter indicated it is changing its policy on abusive messages to better combat harassment and threats across its platform. The Financial Times notes how Twitter has resisted any policy that might intersect with freedom of expression, but a petition in the U.K. of more than 125,000 denouncing the threats against a feminist activist seemed to prompt Twitter to introduce measures. It has reinforced its policy about revoking accounts when they are abusive and it will be easier to directly report an abusive Tweet through its mobile app. The Wall Street Journal looked at the issue just before Twitter announced its moves, noting the delicate balance Twitter has struck over the years.
Bob Cohn, the editor of Atlantic Digital, examines in Folio what he calls a broken system of online comments. Cohen argues that media organizations have not found ways to ensure that comments foster stronger discussion and reflection. It takes resources (more than organizations have) to do so. Until better software arrives to help, he suggests media need to decide if they improve or harm the journalism.
Adam Liptak, the Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times, looks at the fine line between spies and leakers at the moment in the U.S. and how court rulings are revising the conventional wisdom about free expression. "The scale of disclosures made possible by digital media, the governments vast surveillance apparatus and the rise of unorthodox publishers like WikiLeaks have unsettled time-honored understandings of the role of mass media in American democracy," he writes. The tension between free expression and national security doesn't yield predictable winners and losers all the time, he indicates.