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zimowars

"I wish someone would shoot you"

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In the event that someone were to genuinely profess "I wish someone would shoot you", and or "I hope someone puts a bullet in your head", that is to say, that they are outright telling you to your face that they would seriously abet or approve of your murder, are they within their right to say so, and what would you argue is the appropriate, objective response to it?

Would you say that this counts as harassment that warrants reporting someone?

edit: I realize in hindsight that my question is all too broad; I should specify that I am specifically talking about interaction occurring on a social networking site, such as Twitter. If you were to report someone for saying this, filing it under harassment, would that be considered an infringement of his freedom of speech?

Edited by zimowars
Initial question all too broad

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Everybody on Facebook or Twitter is there voluntarily. If these providers want to set some standards and exclude people who don't meet them, that is their business. If you complain and somebody is excluded, you have not violated anybody's rights, and neither has the provider.

Under some circumstances a threat might be a violation of criminal law. I doubt that any online posting would be close enough to the real act to come under such laws. Threats to the president might qualify more easily as crimes.

Edited by Reidy

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8 hours ago, zimowars said:

In the event that someone were to genuinely profess "I wish someone would shoot you", and or "I hope someone puts a bullet in your head", that is to say, that they are outright telling you to your face that they would seriously abet or approve of your murder, are they within their right to say so, and what would you argue is the appropriate, objective response to it?

Would you say that this counts as harassment that warrants reporting someone?

edit: I realize in hindsight that my question is all too broad; I should specify that I am specifically talking about interaction occurring on a social networking site, such as Twitter. If you were to report someone for saying this, filing it under harassment, would that be considered an infringement of his freedom of speech?

No. While someone does have the right to wish you dead, they don't have the right to do it using a service that belongs to someone who forbids such behavior. And Twitter does forbid that. You are right to take advantage of their policies, and spare yourself from being subjected to that kind of behavior.

As for reporting this to the government (on the grounds of "harassment"), that's a more interesting question. Harassment should indeed be a crime (and it is...in most jurisdictions, it's referred to as "stalking"). But if it happens once, no, it is not "harassment/stalking". Harassment/stalking entails a series of credible threats aimed at terrorizing someone, not just a one time expression of ill will.

I like the precedents set by the US judiciary, on what constitutes a threat. They go the farthest towards protecting free speech, out of any country. Check out cases involving the Black Panthers threatening Police, for instance, on wikipedia. They make for an interesting read. It is amazing how far you can take free speech rights in the US...and rightfully so, imo.

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Why, thank you for the swift replies, fellows! I'm new around here, so I greatly appreciate it!

I would not describe the person's phrasing as a threat either, just as disgusting and awfully mean-spirited. Being that none of my rights were violated as such, they are most certainly well within their rights to both have and express that opinion (this I don't think to be very controversial), I just don't know that given Twitter's guidelines that it is the appropriate platform to do so. 

Another thing that motivated me to report this particular individual is that I keep seeing Twitter itself applying their so-called "safety procedures" and rules very inconsistently, something I personally think they really had ought to work on.

As for the legal issue, it was never really my intention to discuss this, though I can see how my phrasing might have given off that impression. Being that I live in Europe, FoS is a very important issue to me. Here we have all kinds of laws which prohibit certain types of quote unquote "hateful speech" (which occasionally extends to certain kinds of non-aggressive behavior), which I always found to be utterly ridiculous for a number reasons (see for instance the story of a scot who was arrested after having taught his dog to preform nazi salutes on command as a joke).

 

Thanks again! 

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