Recently, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa sued Twitter for the misappropriation of his name by an anonymous account holder (the now vacant @TonyLaRussa) who had a whopping four followers.
One issue that the incident brings to mind is Web anonymity and the plethora of online trolls, squatters, and the like that reside on social sites such as Twitter and Digg. They look to defame and have "fun" at someone else's expense—anonymously.
But when does this issue become the responsibility of the platform itself? It's obvious that Twitter felt the pressure, succumbing to La Russa's suit and settling a few days after the suit was widely publicized.
Certainly Twitter understood that a long legal process would've probably cost much more than settling. More important, though, is whether it (and other platforms) realize the need to police such accounts and keep a closer eye on them.
For a platform as large as Twitter, it's definitely a huge task, but it's one that such online entities need to take a closer look at.
The landscape of this industry is changing, as celebrities (with big pockets) join the social-media fray. Twitter hopes to keep these celebrities happy, because they have helped bump it into mainstream stardom. At the same time, Twitter now has a much larger and perhaps unfortunate task of keeping an even closer eye on the rest of the community and what is being said or created for or on behalf of these star names.
So I ask you this: Does the responsibility to actively police for trolls and squatters, or pay the price of not doing so, fall on Twitter?
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