2K Community Director Corey Andress has detailed the abuse and threats that he's received from the public in response to a UK parliament petition seeking to mandate ID verification for social media.
Corey "CoreySA" Andress is the Head of Global Community for Take-Two Interactive and 2K Games and previously served as the Senior Manager for Electronic Arts' Global Community Activation Team. Understandably, these positions mean that he has to deal with the public on a regular basis. Some of those interactions were not so nice, and a handful of them were downright terrifying — so much so that his employers once offered to provide him with personal bodyguards.
2K Community Director Corey Andress Details Threats, Stalking
"I have long believed this needs to be a reality. Any person who wants to have a social media account should be required to send in identification," 2K Community Director Corey Andress said in a tweet. "This way, if they’re abusive, they would face criminal prosecution just like they would for the same actions in real life."
That tweet quoted another tweet by Tom Huddlestone which linked to a UK Parliament petition to require verified ID for using social media. Huddlestone's tweet was in response to a tweet from The Times' Chief Football Writer Henry Winter which reported racial abuse sent to English football players following the loss of an important soccer match last night.
"I’ve been hacked, vilified to the point of needing therapy[,] and was offered bodyguards and protection as a cause."
Andress responded to the reported racial abuse received by English soccer players Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka, and Marcus Rashford, by sharing his own story of the kinds of threats, harassment, and stalking that he and his family have had to deal with over the years as a result of his work in a public-facing position for large video game companies.
"While it pales in comparison to what these players face, I know what it’s like to be abused via social media so my personal POV on this one is strong…" read a Twitter thread from 2K Community Director Corey Andress. "I’m all for people sharing their opinion, but the rules change when someone sends you a picture of your kids in a toilet with human s*** on it."
"I’ve had people fly to my city or take pictures of my car with my license plate at malls and I’ve had to walk through places with family with hoodies over my head," he continued. "I’ve been hacked, vilified to the point of needing therapy[,] and was offered bodyguards and protection as a cause."
"For even the strongest of willed human, these things are scarring. They change your perception of humanity and how you go about your day-to-day life. They change how you interact, how you socialize. When there’s no consequence, these actions multiply."
The UK parliament petition in question is seeking to require the use of identification as a condition for using social media within the United Kingdom. The petition website is similar to Change.org in that the UK parliament has to debate any petition that receives over 100,000 signatures. The petition currently stands at 384,000 signatures and growing at the time of writing. While the petition has not yet been debated, the UK government has already posted an early response.
"Anonymity underpins people’s fundamental right to express themselves and access information online in a liberal democracy. Introducing a new legal requirement for user verification on social media would unfairly restrict this right and force vulnerable users to disclose their identity," read a portion of the government response to the petition. "The Online Safety legislation will address harmful anonymised activities online and introduce robust measures to improve the safety of all users online."
The protection of anonymity on social media are certainly important. The level of abuse that Corey Andress has had to deal with over the years, however, has caused him to have strong opposition to anonymity on social media.
"Anonymity is great at times, but it’s been abused in these platforms and shouldn’t be tolerated. And until you’ve had to hide in a mall, be scared to send your kids to a school, wonder if someone’s going to recognize you and beat you up, or wake up with videos threatening abuse with someone saying your home address….I don’t care about your indifference to my POV, sorry."
"I don’t want this to be about me," he added. "I only share some personal stories to give context to the strong POV I shared earlier. I’m fine - but I know the hurt these players must feel. To give your all and because one thing happens, the world thinks they know everything about you."
"It’s heartbreaking. More than any loss. Anyways. We need to do better."