Now Twitter's 'Report' Function Being Used To Disappear Complaint About GDPR Being Used To Disappear Public Court Document

from the so-that's-great dept

Just recently we wrote about how a guy in France, Michael Francois Bujaldon, who had been sued in the US and accused of securities and real estate fraud, had apparently been using the GDPR’s right to be forgotten features to get the court docket about this lawsuit deleted from the web (in at least one case) or have his name removed from it (in the other). Our story focused on the situation with the website PlainSite, which is run by Aaron Greenspan and hosts tons of public court dockets. In our comments, it was interesting to note that at least one person seemed hellbent on trashing Greenspan. Greenspan and I have had our own differences throughout the years, and he has been a vocal critic of the way I’ve covered him in the past, but these comments seemed to go way over the line.

And now, Greenspan informs me that someone is trying to get his original tweet — which alerted me to this abuse of the GDPR to delete public documents — disappeared from the internet as well. On Wednesday morning Greenspan discovered that both his PlainSite Twitter account and his personal Twitter account were “limited” due to reports. It’s unclear why his personal account was limited, but Twitter told him that his original tweet about Bujaldon violated its rules on “posting personal information.”

It is difficult to see how a tweet that simply reads “French scam artist Michael Francois Bujaldon is using the GDPR to attempt to remove traces of his United States District Court case from the internet. He has already succeeded in compelling PacerMonitor to remove his case. We have 24 hours to respond” (and then links to the PlainSite docket) could possibly violate any Twitter rules, but the company told him he needed to delete the tweet in question:

Once again, we’re in a situation where if you hand people tools to delete content they dislike — whether it’s a DMCA takedown process, a GDPR “right to be forgotten” or a private platform’s “report abuse” button — some percentage of people are going to abuse that. And, as we’ve discussed many times, with the private platform decision making process involving overworked, underpaid workers who have to make determinations on each “report” with about 5 seconds to consider the report, many, many mistakes are going to be made. This is yet another one, and is yet another example of why we should be careful about giving people even more tools for deleting content.

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Companies: plainsite, twitter

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Comments on “Now Twitter's 'Report' Function Being Used To Disappear Complaint About GDPR Being Used To Disappear Public Court Document”

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Gary (profile) says:

Re: So you're saying "Report" buttons shouldn't be weaponized?

I’m looking to you for a workable solution if Mike removed the Report button.
Because as anyone Honest will say, posting boards are unworkable without moderation.
Please show us how your website works again? The one where anyone can post anything with no moderation? And all the articles are written by you?

John Roddy (profile) says:

Re: So you're saying "Report" buttons shouldn't be weaponized?

You keep getting flagged because you regularly openly lie about everything, make excuses when you’re proven wrong, and hurl baseless insults every time you get called out on it. You are welcome to start participating if you can prove that you’re able to behave.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: So you're saying "Report" buttons shouldn't be weaponized?

I read ‘making excuses’ as ‘rather than admit to being wrong, and having been shown to be wrong, pivoting to something else and/or ignoring being proven wrong’, which does not strike me as part of an honest discussion.

The ‘being wrong’ bit would also fall under the same category of ‘arguing dishonestly’ depending on how it’s done. It’s one thing to be wrong, another to have been proven wrong and yet repeating the same claims over and over again, no matter how many times people correct you. At that point you’re not engaging in a conversation so much as spamming.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So you're saying "Report" buttons shouldn't be weaponized?

A Twitter account is a personal micro blogging account, where each person has an identifiable stream of tweets, while this is Mikes blog, with anonymous posting. A twitter use can filter by tweeters name, users here can’t, and in any case comments are only hidden and not removed.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:


otherwording (or in-other-wordsing) — noun — The practice of summarizing an argument in a way that intentionally distorts it into saying something it does not and slanders the person who made it; this is often done to make winning an argument easier.

Example: You can typically find the phrases “in other words” or “so you’re saying” at the beginning of an instance of otherwording.

See also: strawman; your post

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

The court records are not under seal & are public.
This isn’t his private information, this is him being sued for allegations of fraud. Twitter needs to really learn to get their shit together.

Perhaps those in charge of GDPR should be replaced with people who have the ability to think. It is one thing to ‘right to be forgotten’ charges from 20 yrs ago it is another to hide a current lawsuit opening citizens up to being defrauded.

If you did something bad 20 yrs ago & never anything since, okay maybe you deserve to have that event forgotten, but it being used this way is totally what people said would happen.

Perhaps people shouldn’t have a right to be forgotten, if their ‘crimes’ follow them around perhaps they will have a hard time finding more victims and have to consider that they won’t be able to just wipe it away & setup the next sucker to rip off.

But then things are all sorts of messed up across the pond, I mean if you are rich and powerful enough you can get a court to stop people reporting/talking about charges of having beaten your wife or abusing a child. When was the last time they issued a super-injuction for the average bloke?

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And that has what to do with forgetting?

If we read the criteria critically, something usual under most laws, the remembering part is, ahem, illegal. Which brings up another point. If I remember, but don’t say so, technically I have broken their law, but how are they gonna know?

The whole concept is stupid, and impossible to enforce. Which won’t stop the witch hunts and the injuries it causes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

And that has what to do with forgetting?

It’s the same as dumping a gallon of dye into a river. Initially, it’s easy to see the dye and trace it back to the origin. Give it some time though, and not only can you no longer find the origin, it’s nearly impossible to prove that the dye even existed in the first place.

Similarly, since it is impossible to erase memories, the law simply orders the erasure of all external references to the memories. This 1) prevents new memories from forming in new people and 2) the mental connections necessary for memory recall atrophy without external reference and reinforcement, such that over time even the people who "remember" it will simply no longer think about it. Further, human memory is exceptionally fluid so over time the memory will mutate as different details are lost/filled in, eventually resulting in fundamental disagreements even among the people who supposedly "remember" the event in question.

Glenn says:

When you provide tools that allow anyone to effectively have something they don’t like be deleted, then eventually everything will be deleted as more and more “haters of all things not blessed by me” take advantage of them.

Freedom of speech is all about offending someone somewhere or making someone afraid of something (and rightly so). Humanity’s right to know far outweighs anyone’s “right” to be forgotten.

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