Wednesday, March 4, 2015

If ISIS created its own Twitter-like service

You may recall one of my posts from last Friday, which noted that different countries and cultures have different standards for what is considered objectionable content. This causes problems for multinational corporations that have to somehow comply with all of the local standards at once.

An example cited in that post is the prevailing law in Saudi Arabia. The intent of the Saudi law is to prevent the "publishing or accessing" of online data that is "damaging to the dignity" of the nation. For example, this is one action that is prohibited in Saudi Arabia:

Anything damaging to the dignity of heads of states or heads of credited diplomatic missions in the Kingdom, or harms relations with those countries.

In other words, if you're in Saudi Arabia, you can't insult the President of the United States. Which is odd, because here in the United States, it's almost a civic duty to insult the President of the United States. The current President doesn't love his country. His predecessor is a literal idiot. His predecessor's predecessor is a deviant sexual predator. And all of them are enslaved to the Illuminati.

(I guess the Empoprise-BI business blog just got banned in Saudi Arabia.)

But the Saudi example pales in comparison to another recent example of a conflict between local standards and the standards of a multinational corporation.

Before I discuss this recent example, let's take a look at Twitter's Twitter Rules. Specifically, let's look at two of them.

Violence and Threats: You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others....

Unlawful Use: You may not use our service for any unlawful purposes or in furtherance of illegal activities. International users agree to comply with all local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content.

You can see the potential conflict right there. Twitter establishes a whole bunch of rules, but then says that users "agree to comply with all local laws."

What if the local laws conflicted with the Twitter Rules?

Specifically, what if Twitter's prohibition of violence and threats violated a local law?

Welcome to the wonderful world of ISIS. From last August:

Supporters of the ISIS terror group tweeted thousands of messages on Friday bearing the hashtag #AmessagefromISIStoUS featuring gruesome photos and threats to U.S. soldiers and citizens after American airstrikes took out terrorist targets in Iraq for the first time.

Some tweeted photos depict dead U.S. Army soldiers, U.S. marines hung from bridges in Fallujah, decapitated men, human heads on spikes, and the twin towers in flames on September 11, 2001.

'This is a message for every American citizen,' read one message sent with the hashtag. 'You are the target of every Muslim in the world wherever you are.'

Obviously these messages and many others like them violate the "Twitter Rules," so Twitter has been shutting down these accounts.

You can guess what happened next. Yup, now ISIS is threatening violence against Jack Dorsey.

Isis supporters have threatened Twitter employees, including co-founder Jack Dorsey specifically, with death over the social network’s practice of blocking accounts associated with the group.

In an Arabic post uploaded to the image-sharing site, the group told Twitter that “your virtual war on us will cause a real war on you”. It warned that Jack Dorsey and Twitter employees have “become a target for the soldiers of the Caliphate and supporters scattered among your midst!”

“You started this failed war … We told you from the beginning it’s not your war, but you didn’t get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back. But when our lions come and take your breath, you will never come back to life.”

I'm sure that the whole episode has gotten some people in ISIS talking. These aren't dummies; many of them are well educated. And it probably drives them crazy that they have to use their hands to type tweets that are hosted and managed by a Crusader atheist social media service like Twitter.

The answer, of course, is for ISIS to create its own social media services, that operate in full accordance with their narrow beliefs. (This, of course, is several orders of magnitude above what True Vine does. True Vine has never proposed to host its own content- although Family Friendly Edited DVDs did.)

Of course, if ISIS creates its own social media outlet, it will need to create its own terms of service. Somehow I suspect that they would be very different from Twitter's "rules." While the ISIS TOS would presumably be written in Arabic, I have taken the liberty of creating an English language version of what some of those rules would look like.

Private information: If a person has insulted the Caliphate, you must publish and post the person's private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address or Social Security/National Identity numbers, even if you do not have the person's express authorization and permission.

Violence and Threats: You are required to publish and post direct, specific threats of violence against those who insult the Caliphate.

Of course, we know what would happen. The Great Firewall of China, which prevents objectionable words like "democracy" from entering China, would be replicated in every other country, ensuring that no one could see ISIS-authored content.

Unless someone retweeted it.
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