Twitter director argues for anonymity on social media

Representatives from Twitter and Facebook have been defending themselves before an Oireachtas Committee today.

Twitter director argues for anonymity on social media

Representatives from Twitter and Facebook have been defending themselves before an Oireachtas Committee today.

The Communications Committee is examining the irresponsible use of social media and links to cyber bullying.

Both companies said there are already clear procedures in place for reporting abuse online, while TDs and Senators have raised concerns about anonymity on Twitter and the response to complaints on Facebook.

Twitter's Director of Public Policy for Europe Sinead McSweeney defended her company's policies on reporting abuse before the Oireachtas Communications Committee earlier.

Ms McSweeney said: "There is a straightforward process, within Twitter itself, for reporting content.

"As well as ensuring content compliance within our own rules, we ask users that they comply with the rules of the country within which they operate."

She also said allowing users to remain anonymous is a vital part of the social media website's appeal as it allows people without a voice to take part in the conversation.

Facebook's Patricia Cartes was asked why, in contrast, her company insists on using people's real names and identities:

"Facebook is based on you connecting to people that matter to you, therefore when you create an account with your real name, you will be approving friendship requests from people you already know.

"In a way this already helps regulate the community."

The level of concern among the Committee's TDs and Senators varied.

Fine Gael's Patrick O'Donovan likened the debate to an episode of 'Father Ted' and said the focus should be on access to the courts for people who have been defamed.

Fianna Fail's Timmy Dooley said bullying has been around for years.

Mr Dooley said: "I am somewhat amused at the level of attention that has been given to the level of bullying on any of the social media, because bullying has always been a feature of life.

"You only have to go back to our own school days and we know how people are bullied."

However, Fine Gael's Mary Mitchell O'Connor suggested moderating content for children and adults, and that parents should have to sign an acceptance form before their children set up an account.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's been significant interest in the Committee on Twitter too, with much criticism leveled at some politicians for being uninformed about the workings of social media.

'Sexting' comment Senator, Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, has also got her own YouTube remix.

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