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.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: aaron greenspan, content moderation, dockets, erasing history, gdpr, michael francois bujaldon, public information, right to be forgotten, rtbf
Companies: plainsite, twitter

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread

  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Oct 2018 @ 8:02pm

    A broken clock is right twice in a given day.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.