After right-wing troll Jack Posobiec posted a photo and workplace of one of the women named in the Washington Post story revealing Roy Moore’s past sexual misconduct, he received significant backlash on Twitter accusing him of doxxing a victim of sexual abuse.
As criticism of Posobiec — who appears to be a Moore supporter — mounted, he deleted the original post with the photo, began to blame another website for the photo and then made his account private. It also seems that he posted and possibly deleted tweets related to the Washington Post story itself, which called into question the accuracy of the meticulously reported piece and the character of the reporters involved.
Many users reported him to Twitter, saying that Posobiec — a self-styled “Christian conservative” — had violated the platform’s terms of service.
Twitter apparently disagreed.
Twitter says @jackposobiec doxxing a sexual abuse victim doesn’t violate terms of service because the context is unclear.
Posobiec has deleted his tweets because he’s a coward who knows he deserves suspension. pic.twitter.com/ziDs4S0OgD
— Vic Berger IV (@VicBergerIV) November 12, 2017
At least one user who reported Posobiec received a reply from Twitter saying that it “found that there was no violation” of policies against “abusive behaviors.” Twitter cited a lack of context for Posobiec’s tweet that would indicate whether it had negative intentions. Based on Twitter’s policy, in determining context, the platform likely reached out to Posobiec himself — and subsequently took his side.
“Some Tweets may seem to be abusive when viewed in isolation, but may not be when viewed in the context of a larger conversation,” Twitter’s policy reads. “While we accept reports of violations from anyone, sometimes we also need to hear directly from the target to ensure that we have proper context.”
This same user posted screenshots of Posobiec’s tweets accusing the Post of fraud and cited rumors circulating among conservative denialists about Moore’s primary accuser in an attempt to cast doubt on her story.
Twitter defines hateful conduct by saying, “You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.”
Twitter’s policy regarding posting someone’s private information on its platform — which happens when someone is doxxed — is more ambiguous. It includes the caveat:
“Please keep in mind that although you may consider certain information to be private, not all postings of such information may be a violation of this policy. We consider the nature and public availability of the information posted, local privacy laws, and other case-specific facts.”
And as for Posobiec, his credentials are chiefly that he peddled the infamous Pizzagate conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were responsible for a child sex ring in a DC pizza shop. The pizza shop did not even have a basement, and the claims were wildly false, but that didn’t stop a Pizzagate truther from storming the establishment with a firearm.
His intentions and misuse of the social media platform were, to many, clear as day.