Daniel Nazer, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation who mostly focuses on patent issues, had his twitter account shut down last week after posting a “harassing” tweet.
The issue concerns a discussion between Nazer and Jon Palma, the head of Ares Rights. Ares Rights is a Spanish firm which is notorious for sending out bogus DMCA claims on behalf of the Ecuadorian government, in order to censor content critical of the government. This behavior has been covered by the EFF and others. Nazer even used his personal Twitter account to criticize Ares Rights over its “copyfraud.”
It seems that Palma misunderstood Nazer’s tweet, possibly because English is not his native language, and he thought the tweet was in favor of Ares Rights. Palma sent Nazer an email asking for advice on gaining new customers. Nazer sent back a reply telling him to do something better with his life. Nazer decided to share this amusing email conversation on Twitter, and posted a tweet containing a screenshot of the email conversation. This is what ultimately lead to Nazer’s account being suspended.
Nazer was able to reactivate his account after he agreed to delete the tweet, but it raises the question of why the tweet was even considered “harassing” by Twitter. Twitter is notorious in not giving any clear explanation as to why specific tweets are in violation of its rules. The theory presented on Techdirt is that the tweet violated Twitter’s rules on posting private information, because the image in the tweet showed Palma’s personal email address. Since Twitter has a policy of not publicly commenting on specific instances of rules violations, this is probably all the explanation we will ever get. Nazer has since posted another screenshot of the email conversation, but the address is not visible, and so far it hasn’t caught Twitter’s ire.
Is Twitter right to consider posting private email addresses as harassing? Leave your comments below.