Jess Phillips and the Death of Twitter

When EYEdecided to dip my precious toe into the murky world of twitter to write about gender equality I pledged that my words and actions would comply with the Caitlin Moran Code for Modern Feminists.

A Labour MP has revealed she received more than  600 rape threats in one night, after launching a campaign against sexist online bullying. Daily Telegraph

For the uninitiated this essentially means that EYEunderstand that men and women are equal (if different) and at all times people should do their utmost to not act like a DICK.

Labour MP receives 600 rape threats in one night. The Independent

Inevitably some people will undoubtedly think that EYEis a DICK.

Obviously EYEsupport their right to think (and say) that.

Regardless of what they think EYE try not to be a DICK based on my own moral compass.

A [Birmingham] MP who was barraged with rape threats shortly after being elected has been subjected to more trolling on social media. The Labour MP has become a target for trolls after revealing she had received tweets from people “threatening to rape” her last year.  Birmingham Mail

It’s likely that Jess Phillips MP thinks EYEis a DICK because she blocked me on twitter for suggesting that she might be in the anti-Corbyn camp in the Labour Party.

EYEhas been a critic of Phillips in the past but when I discovered that a trending tribe of libertarians were pledging ‘not to rape‘ Ms Phillips on twitter, surprisingly enough EYEopted not to join in.

A Labour MP has received around 5,000 abusive posts on Twitter.  Jess Phillips,  founder of Recl@im the Internet, told Victoria Derbyshire many of the messages said she was not worthy of being raped.  BBC News

EYEis extremely skeptical about the excitable, exaggerated and frankly lackadaisical manner in which mainstream media can sometimes cover these incidents.  EYEalso worry that some of the dubious examples Yvette Cooper has previously promoted might ultimately only serve to undermine the noble aims of her Reclaim the Internet Campaign.

Female Labour MP is sent 600 rape threats in ONE NIGHT after launching a campaign to end sexist bullying online. Daily Mail

So EYEfollowed Phillip’s advice to check out her twitter mentions and sadly, sure enough, amongst plenty of messages of support and revulsion, there were a good number of notifications talking about rape.  I didn’t bother doing a number count but the point is that there were certainly enough to warrant a claim of dog piling.

Dogpile:A disagreement on an Internet message board wherein one person says something stupid or offensive, and a large number of people comment in response to tell the person how wrong and/or horrible they are, and continue to disparage the original commenter beyond any reasonable time limit.

People commenting at the same time, without realizing others are jumping on the person as well, do not make a dogpile. The requirement is to join in with an angry group to yell at an easy target, or to get popularity points for being seen to agree with the group. They see that everyone else is doing something, and they copy it.

The original commenter typically does not respond at all, because they are completely overwhelmed or scared off. Once a dogpile has been established, an apology from the original commenter is less likely to be effective. Urban Disctionary

 The #distractinglysexy hashtag is testament to the fact that dogpiling can have very serious real world events for the intended target, so I’m always a little bit cautious about joining in even if I think the person who said the thing that provoked the reaction was clearly being a DICK.

That said I do think the rules apply slightly differently when it comes to elected representatives and, given that our Prime Minister is the UK’s most ‘abused’ person on twitter, clearly so do a lot of other people.

Jess Phillips may quit twitter after being bombarded with 600 vile rape threats. The Guardian

Even so EYE draw the line at pledging not to rape a member of Parliament, most especially a female member of Parliament because it’s just a DICK thing to do.

Even though EYEhave seen very little evidence to suggest that Jess Phillips MP pays much respect to either of Caitlin Moran’s most sacred rules of modern feminism.

‘They’re saying that they don’t want to rape me as if raping is something they would do to someone they liked.’ Jess Phillips

Even though EYEget that there is a whole heap of context, and nuance, to the dogpile, and even lots of genuine anti fascist activism.

It’s still a DICK thing to do.

Labour MP hit with 600 death threats in single night.  Phillips has been a constant target for trolls since launching a campaign to end sexist bullying online. [Last Year] The MP was hit with hundreds of messages from Twitter users threatening to rape her. The Sun

And it also plays right into the hands of the type of people who are prepared to employ pathetically passive aggressive tactics to silence their critics, attack their enemies and take another tip toe towards totalitarianism on twitter and beyond.

U.S. Internet giants Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp. pledged to tackle online hate speech in less than 24 hours as part of a joint commitment with the European Union to combat the use of social media by terrorists. Stephanie Bodoni, Bloomberg

And when the party leaders are asked to condemn the actions of these terrible twitter trolls, it would take an incredibly brave Politician to question Ms Phillips’ own behaviour or whether there is any evidence whatsoever to support the widely publicized claims that she has received hundreds of rape threats, on twitter, on two separate occasions.

We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow, however, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate. Karen White – Twitter Head of Public Policy for Europe.

And no doubt we’re in for a virtual tsunami of virtue signalling for the foreseeable future.

A man complaining about “anti-male sexism” is the sound of a man crying about lost advantages. Huge, man-made, God-thundering advantages.  Robert Webb

All that being said, it may have been a DICK thing to do but if being a DICK becomes a criminal offence then frankly we’re all fucked.

Phillips told the BBC that the West midlands Police follow her twitter feed closely but there is probably little they can do because the vast majority of people making the ‘rape threats’ are based in America.

The so called ‘ring leader’ actually lives in this country and has a very high profile and popular YouTube account. Despite this, it seems highly unlikely the Police will be taking action because I’m not certain that there is any evidence whatsoever of any actual crime having been committed.

Unless of course prosecuting ungood duckspeak thought crimes against favoured (and faultless) members of Oceania’s outer party is the way to go.

And even then surely new legislation would be required and the proles given fair notice of the new world wide web order?

Labour MP Jess Phillips received 600 rape threats the night after launching a campaign to end sexist cyber-bullying. Russia Today

Even so the Member of Parliament will be contacting twitter about some of the ring leaders and has reached a point where she believes legal action is the way to ‘attack’ these people.

Twitter may be pressured into taking action and the ‘ring leader’ might even get suspended or thrown off the platform.  If he does no doubt many will indeed consider it the death of twitter.

But this feels more like the death of democracy.


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