Storify CEO enables a stalker and thinks it’s no big deal

Ana Mardoll writes about how a single tweet from Storify CEO Xavier Damman informed her stalker that she and other women also being cyberstalked by the same person were seeking to have Storify stop him from harassing women via their notification system, and how he shrugged it off.

There is no plausible way that Xavier Damman doesn’t know that he alerted a stalker to a conversation being taken place about him. There is no plausible way that Xavier Damman doesn’t know that he sent a list of people who care about online stalking to a known online stalker.

And while I can maybe, maybe, believe that Xavier Damman just didn’t think about what he was doing when he did it — because, hey, privilege-blinkers are real — I cannot believe that Xavier Damman didn’t know what he was doing when he dug in his heels and started insisting that he didn’t do anything wrong, and conveying with his hastily-followed silence that his company isn’t going to do a damn thing about placing me, and dozens of other people, on the radar of a man who they already know to be abusing their service in order to stalk and harass.

Storify and Xavier Damman owe me, and dozens of other people, an apology.

Storify and Xavier Damman owe us a change to their TOS to prohibit stalking behaviors.

Storify and Xavier Damman owe us a statement that they have banned ElevatorGate and taken down his storifys.

Meanwhile I’ll be over here, explaining to my family, my friends, and my follows that I have a new stalker now and that they might all want to disassociate from me for their own safety — and that no matter what Storify or Xavier Damman do, they can’t protect me from the person they set on me, whether that act was careless or deliberate. What a terrible, horrible place for me to be in, to have to tell the people I love that being my friend might cause them to be harmed.

Over at Whatever, John Scalzi publishes an email sent by a reader whose name he is withholding so that she can’t be identified by this same stalker, describing more about how this went down and adding to the calls for Damman and Storify to stop walking past this serious harassment (in violation of their own TOS):

@elevatorGATE’s conduct is encouraging his followers to stalk and harass several women. Since cyberstalking is against US law under 47 USC § 223 and the Violence Against Women Act, he is violating other Terms of Service as well.

Please help us put pressure on Storify to follow their posted Terms of Service, post a clear harassment policy, and ban this known stalker and delete his thousands of posts.

I do have a Storify account, which I’ve only used on a handful of occasions because I found that it didn’t work as well as I would have liked for embedding related tweets in posts, as it meant too long a waiting time for little data packets to fly between Twitter and Storify and the blog before people could actually read them, so I haven’t used it for months. I don’t think I ever turned the notification feature on, because I wasn’t using it really as a social media platform in itself, merely as an adjunct web tool, so elevatorGATE’s preferred method of harassment would barely impinge upon my awareness. I won’t miss it by not using it any more if/when Damman and Storify continue doubling down on what they’re doing wrong here.

But that oh-well response of mine is very much a luxury I have because I haven’t dived deep into that particular ecosystem and have not built any major part of my web presence around it. There are many many people who do use Storify as an important form of interaction with others online, and who would have to recalibrate their social media strategies significantly if they stopped using it, and quite simply: these users deserve better and are absolutely right to expect more. If Storify doesn’t step up, I’m sure some other entrepreneurial service will be very willing to fill the gap they’re opening up.

h/t tekanji and PZ Myers

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, social justice

Tags: , , , ,

3 replies

  1. I contacted Storify via email about this stalker, who has also come after me, and was told that he had been “warned” about this behavior, and that in response to “multiple complaints” that they had disabled his ability to notify people that he’d added their tweets to a Storify.
    So now he gets to continue to stalk us and archive tweets for no reason other than to annoy and harass us, and we won’t know about it unless we go to his account and monitor his stalking, or (as is more likely) one of his friends or sockpuppets (because we all have him blocked) come poke at us about it on Twitter.
    Storify gave him an open field to play and romp in. They’ve given his behavior their explicit approval and enabled it to be even more invasive and harassing. On the day before his notifications were disabled, he archived tweets of just one of my friends into sixty separate Storifys. But the CEO sees nothing wrong with what he’s doing.

  2. I fortunately haven’t found my way onto EG’s radar despite being one of the authorised blockers for @The_Block_Bot (one of the pet hates of that group of harassers), and since I lack a Storify account, am glad I do not receive notifications. However, it’s hard not to notice the effect of this continual surveillance on many of the people I follow and interact with on Twitter, as well as observing the fact that Xavier Damman clearly doesn’t give a fuck about who he exposes to this stalker and his equally creepy and obnoxious followers. For that, Storify deserves to burn.

  3. Two more links of note, first an article at Mother Jones on Storify and the Elevatorgate stalker:
    Second, Stephanie Zvan at Almost Diamonds investigates and finds a whole lot more that the reporter from Mother Jones overlooked:

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