Daily Archives: August 15, 2013

Storify, Stalkers and Terms of Service

Posting (with permission) an e-mail I got from an occasional Whatever commenter, because this seems something worth pointing people’s attention to. For reasons that will become clear, I’m trimming out the person’s name, although I know who it is and I find them to be credible.

At the time of the posting here, the character in question has his Twitter account suspended, but his Storify account is still up and running. And, yup, it’s exactly as it’s described.

For my part, it seems pretty clear that Storify can deal with this dude, based on its own Terms of Service. The question is whether it will, and if not, why not.

What follows is this person’s e-mail and interpretation of events. I have added in relevant links.

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A Twitter and Storify user who goes by the handle “@elevatorGATE” is a well-known cyberstalker of women via social media. His latest method of doing this is to compile thousands of pieces on Storify, often including every single tweet sent by his chosen targets, and then publish them, which notifies the women in question that he had published yet another piece archiving their every word. After repeated complaints and requests for help, Storify temporarily deactivated the notification feature on his account, which doesn’t actually solve the problem.

In a conversation yesterday with Xavier Damman, the Storify CEO suggested that the women @elevatorGATE is targeting turn off all notifications from Storify, which essentially suggests that they withdraw from the medium if they don’t like being stalked, and which also wouldn’t solve the problem of this user archiving everything these women say. One of the users pointed out that this is very much like telling a woman who is being harassed via telephone to never answer the phone. It was at this point in the conversation that Damman went from passively enabling a stalker to actively assisting one. He tweeted, in response to the women, that they “…can’t do anything about that. It’s @elevatorgate’s right to quote public statements…”

Prior to this point in the conversation, the women had named their stalker, but not used the @ symbol in front of his username. You know enough about Twitter to know why that’s a big deal. Damman either carelessly or deliberately notified a man stalking multiple women that they were seeking some way to prevent him from continuing to harass them, and then claimed it was no big deal because anyone searching for the information would have been able to find it. But there’s a very big difference between information existing and that same information being directly brought to a person’s attention.

If you know much about stalking, you’ll know what happens next. @elevatorGATE has substantially stepped up his harassment of the women who had asked Damman for help. Men who follow him on both Storify and Twitter have been bombarding these women via Storify notifications and Tweets with additional harassment. He has also increased his harassment of known online associates of the women in question, making it difficult for them to seek out help or support from fear of his beginning to stalk their friends as well. It’s the reason I’m contacting you privately, via email, rather than via social media: I’m afraid. I don’t want to be added to his list of targets.

Despite Damman’s claims that they can’t do anything, @elevatorGATE is violating Storify’s Terms of Service, which forbids users to:

Post, upload, publish, submit or transmit any Content that: (ii): violates, or encourages any conduct that would violate, any applicable law or regulation… (v) promotes discrimination, bigotry, racism, hatred, harassment or harm against any individual or group…

Violate any applicable law or regulation…

Encourage or enable any other individual to do any of the foregoing.

@elevatorGATE’s conduct is encouraging his followers to stalk and harass several women. Since cyberstalking is against US law under 47 USC § 223 and the Violence Against Women Act, he is violating other Terms of Service as well.

Please help us put pressure on Storify to follow their posted Terms of Service, post a clear harassment policy, and ban this known stalker and delete his thousands of posts.