An onslaught of homophobic spam on Twitter has forced Boy George to abandon his account, reports Milo Yiannopoulos.
Twitter was criticised this week for failing to address a stream of automated homophobic abuse directed at 80s pop star Boy George. Messages continue to bombard the former Culture Club frontman with statements such as those depicted above. The messages made Twitter essentially unusable as a medium for the star to engage with the public.
“This is a daily event, endless homophobic and annoying tweets and Twitter so far has not helped me despite asking,” wrote George yesterday. Twitter’s failure to address his concerns in a timely manner again raise questions about the service’s ability to protect its users, both from homophobic abuse and from spam from automated pieces of software called “bots”.
In desperation, Boy George was forced yesterday to change his Twitter handle, the name by which users are known on the service, from @BoyGeorge to @meBoyGeorge, which is likely to confuse fans and result in lost messages for George, because the service was not able to shut down the messages being sent with his name tagged in them.
The embarrassing mess created for Twitter by spammers apparently outwitting their spam control measures raises several awkward questions for the company – namely, what would happen if these attacks began at scale and across Twitter’s celebrity users, or if they were directed towards higher-profile targets such as Barack Obama or Lady Gaga.
There is no sign that the microblogging company would be able to mitigate the effects of these rogue bots, which raises the miserable prospect of frequent name changes or increasing mistrust of the stability and safety of the service.
As of this afternoon, the issue remains unresolved. The Kernel spoke to Boy George but he was unable to provide a response to the story. Twitter told The Kernel today, “We don’t comment on specific accounts,” but they did remind us that the company’s representatives had previously told Boy George fans that the star “could submit a support ticket by going to support.twitter.com”.
A spokesman added: “We tried a number of times to get in touch with [Boy George] to try and help and didn’t hear back.”