On November 20, freelance journalist Zachary Kamel’s Twitter account, @ZacharyKamel, was locked for a post they made back in June. The post thread identified a handful of anonymous accounts, which had been harassing journalists and activists, as being run by Michael Ber. Kamel posted images of Ber, sourced from Ber’s own Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Months later, Twitter locked Kamel’s account, citing Canadian privacy laws about publishing media of an individual. This is not only a misinterpretation of those laws, but also has a chilling effect on journalists who report on the far-right. Kamel has waited over a month for Twitter to review their appeal and the account is still suspended.
During this time, the @IWWFJU tweeted support of Kamel and brought awareness to the ongoing issue of Twitter’s imbalanced application of its Terms of Service — leaving many users vulnerable to online hate speech and threats, while punishing those who attempt to speak out against harassment. In its tweet, the FJU linked to an archive that showed the original Twitter post that @ZacharyKamel had their account locked over.
Though the archive was hosted off Twitter, Twitter suspended the @IWWFJU account, citing the same Canadian privacy laws, and required deletion of the post before reinstatement. As previously happened in Elizabeth King’s account ban ruling, Twitter is using its prior rulings to railroad certain judgements, despite new circumstances and a lack of finality on the appeals of those rulings. This is lazy enforcement and allows bad rulings to compound on an issue without any additional effort by Twitter.
We encourage supporters to share – [email protected] and @TwitterSupport shouldn’t prevent journalists from reporting on the far right. Reinstate @ZacharyKamel! See freelancejournalistsunion.org/statements/2019/12/17/kamel to learn more. via: @IWWFJU
On November 8, freelance journalist and Industrial Workers of the World Freelance Journalists Union (IWW FJU) member Elizabeth King’s Twitter account, @elizabcking, was suspended following coordinated mass reporting by fascists aiming to silence critical reporters. Despite not violating the platform’s terms of service, King was nevertheless informed by Twitter that the suspension was permanent.
At King’s request, the IWW FJU began tweeting in support of them from the union’s account, @IWWFJU, on November 10. These tweets, and other similar messages, were liked and shared widely in a grassroots outpouring of support from journalists, unionists, and anti-fascists.
On November 11, Twitter reversed their previous ruling on the suspension after determining for the second time that King’s account had not violated any rules.
The IWW FJU thanks all of those who spoke out in support of King. We also encourage any journalist targeted by fascists to reach out to us directly at [email protected]. We are here to support you because we wholeheartedly adhere to the IWW’s motto: “An Injury to One is an Injury to All.”
On May 5, IWW Freelance Journalists Union member Talia Jane reported Mike Rosenberg of The Seattle Times for sexual harassment via Twitter. Jane notified The Seattle Times, which suspended Rosenberg pending an investigation. For exposing a man who made inappropriate sexual comments to a colleague, Jane has become the target of online harassment and trolling. She has also given a number of other women the courage to come forward with their own stories of sexual harassment at work — once again demonstrating the ubiquity of predatory behavior.
Freelancing is hard enough without professional acquaintances abusing the power imbalance inherent between established journalists and young writers. The IWW Freelance Journalists Union unequivocally stands with Talia Jane against sexual harassment, misogyny, and patriarchy.