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The Queen’s first Tweet highlights trolling issue

27 October 2014 | 01:54 am

The Queen stole the show on Twitter this week, by sending her very first tweet as part of the official launch of the Information Age Gallery at the British Science Museum.

Publishing on the @BritishMonarchy account she said:

Her tweet, made on an ipad with a HRH gloveless hand, to date has been re-tweeted 41k times and favourited over 43k, making it one of the world's most successful launch tweets of all time.

The Guardian helpfully compiled a list of celebrity ‘first time’ tweets to compare and contrast with the #TheQueenTweets to demonstrate just how truly overwhelming the response has been.  The Independent quoted the Science Museum director Ian Blatchford, who equated the moment to that of the first ever Christmas Speech made back in 1957. High praise for social media indeed!

But just as we were getting all nostalgic, the BBC brought us bang into the moment.The Queen sends first Tweet

During a BBC report on all the positive publicity the Queen was getting, they managed to elevate a troll’s status by showing an offensive post live on National Television.

The @BritishMonarchy account possibly got more than it bargained for when a troll by the name of @WolfgangDikface (the clue is in the title) replied with short thrift and the four letter expletive! Highlighting the modern issue faced with social media trolling, whilst demonstrating that  the Royals are just as at risk as any member of the British Public.

We are pleased that as a result, the issue of ‘trolling’ has been elevated on the awareness stakes and perhaps even given Royal consideration.  The number of cases of trolling appear to be on the up, with people thinking that their actions will go untraced (through fake accounts) or worse, unchallenged.  Made more complicated by the fact that social media platforms are located overseas, making it a challenge to reach customer service teams to make request for removal of content or block a user over the longer term.

With trolling, no one seems safe. Even Stephen Sutton, who captured the nations hearts as a teenage cancer sufferer and fundraiser who inspired so many, suffered in his final months from hurtful trolls. So let’s hope that this story helps the UK to find a workable solution to outlaw trolls and ensure they become accountable for the hurt they cause.

No doubt, in this case there will be some who will argue that it was less ‘troll’ like and an expression of ‘freedom of speech’.  And perhaps the latter argument would be more palatable if the individual concerned was ‘man’ enough to reveal his (or her) identity.

But leaving the issue of trolling aside, the thing that perhaps surprised us the most (working in social media risk management) was how the BBC managed to make such a faux pas in giving the troll the extra publicity (he didn't deserve).

Those of us who attend conferences with live twitter walls will be accustomed to the idea of ‘live’ moderation (both automatically and manually). Streaming live content alongside moderation tools that auto strip offensive words is a must for keeping brand reputations intact on these occasions.

Just last week we were sat with a major conference organiser who was discussing when and where moderation was required during an event.  Rightly, there were concerns that during a conference dinner, with wine flowing, tweets may become a little looser, increasing the risk of rogue tweets. But there is great technology (including ours) to manage this.

So let’s hope the penny drops about moderation and the BBC (and others) are spared blushes in the future.

In the meantime we would like to say “Congratulations, ma'am” for a tweet well made.

CrowdControlHQ is the UK’s leading social media risk management and compliance platform.  We integrate a raft of control and moderation features alongside standard engagement tools to ensure that blushes are spared and brand reputation remains intact.

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