Twitter outrage guidelines

Yesterday the Mail website decided to run a story that even by its own very low standards was a shockingly insensitive and crude political attack. The Daily Mail is not afraid to use any excuse to attack public sector strikes and yesterday decided that the awful accidental death of a 13-year-old girl was the perfect chance to continue this attack. As reported by The Media Blog:

Daily Mail sinks to a new low

As The Media Blog comments:

[this] is surely a leap too far even for the Daily Mail, given it not only insults any notion of logic but also, more worryingly trivialises the death of a young girl for cheap political point scoring

What is becoming increasingly apparent each time a new Twitter storm arises from something the Daily Mail publishes online: nothing is a leap to far for the Daily Mail. The continued rise of the Daily Mail as becoming one of the largest ‘news’ websites in the world in terms of traffic does receive significant help from outraged individuals sharing such stories via social networking sites. This can be avoided quite easily if the following guidelines are followed:

  1. Never link to the Daily Mail website – instead use, copy the URL of the offending Daily Mail article into and it will store a cached version of the webpage for people to visit which means that the Daily Mail gets no additional visitors.
  2. Before clicking or sharing / retweeting a link, hover your mouse over it. If it is going to take you to the Mail website do not click it (unless to create an link). Tell the person sharing the link to stop linking to the Mail, tell them about or refer them to this page.
  3. Check to see if any bloggers have already covered the story. It is far better to link to link to a good blog on the subject because if the link is shared enough then that page can challenge the Mail article when it comes to Google searches for the given subject. Furthermore, this rewards the blogger for writing about the Mail and gives them some extra traffic which might help spread the message that the Mail is awful most of the time, not just on the isolated occasions when Twitter takes up a particular case.
  4. Don’t be afraid to share other links during the periods when Mail outrage is trending on Twitter. Use this as an opportunity to spread the word about good media bloggin sites who do deal with the really nasty narratives that are so often ignored on Twitter because they perhaps don’t fit into the narrow ‘outrage space’ that seems to be present in the minds of some Twitter users.
  5. Do share a link to the PCC if you feel that the article can be complained about legitimately. The more occasions the PCC in inundated with genuine, serious complaints the harder it will be for the media to continually justify self-regulation.

The Daily Mail article that was doing the rounds yesterday [ link] no doubt generated a lot of traffic for the Mail website (it attracted 432 comments – a lot of them highly critical of the Mail’s angle) and eventually the Mail updated the headline of the article to remove the ‘because’ which directly attempted to blame striking teachers for the girl’s death and they remove a supposed Tweet that someone made blaming teachers for the death (people searching for it on Twitter couldn’t find this Tweet). However, the article still contains image captions which make the link between the death and the teacher’s strike even though the grieving family have been forced to issue a statement making it clear to the press that:

Our beloved daughter’s death was a tragic incident, which occurred only 24 hours ago, and we do not want it to be connected to any other events.

‘We politely ask that our privacy be respected at this time and we will not be issuing anything further.

This family have just lost their 13-year-old daughter as she innocently sat under the shade of a tree. As they attempt to deal with such a horrible sudden shock they learn that their daughter’s death had already been used by a national newspaper as a way to attack the teacher’s strike. How must they have felt? How could they even begin to understand how the Mail could print this?

As usual the absolute cowards working at the Mail gifted the byline to the ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ and the utterly supine Press Complaints Commission watch on, powerless to do a single thing about it.

12 thoughts on “Twitter outrage guidelines”

  1. The Daily Mail is obviously still upset that the best rated comments on the article about the strikes were overwhelmingly in favour. On Thursday evening, the story about the strikes had been relegated to halfway down their front page on their website even though ITV and the BBC news featured them as their main story. I did not think it possible that they could be more childish and now this story?

  2. I was in the unusual position yesterday of being genuinely shocked at how low the Mail had sunk. A few points:

    1) The link in the Mail story between the girl’s death and the strike is tenuous, contrived and distasteful – outside of the girl’s family and close friends, no-one will be more upset about her death than those very same teachers, and to blame them is utterly beyond the pale. But it’s nothing new for newspapers (of all shades and sizes) to use human tragedy to make political points – it’s just that usually the victims are dark-skinned, far away and multiple. This is sometimes justifiable, depending on your political beliefs, but it’s strange that it takes an example like this – where the link between the strike and the death is simply far-fetched – for us (me included) to examine whether it’s always done as respectfully as it might be.

    2) The online headline and text has now changed, presumably in part due to the outrage expressed below the line (though the URL still gives the game away). Not all of this outrage will have come from regular Mail readers. Discouraging people from visiting the actual site is all well and good, but there is a case to be made for doing the opposite – registering to post comments and descending en masse on the site the next time they publish trash like this would at least make their moderators sit up and take notice, even if they block some or all of the comments. A thousand fewer hits will make no difference, but a hundred comments might.

    3) This is outside the PCC’s remit. The article as it originally appeared was tasteless, ghoulish and insensitive, but that’s not what the PCC is about. Whether it (or some other body) SHOULD be given the power to censure papers for publishing shit like this is another question – but as things stand, it is not fair of us to call on the PCC to act beyond the scope of its powers.

  3. Damned cowards won’t even put their names to the articles but instead they use “Daily Mail Reporter” like the spineless shit-bags they really are.

    If Paul Dacre really stands behind his view that his paper is taking a moralistic stand on issues… at least make sure the journalists put their names to the shit they write.

    Oh…Paul Dacre – you really are a cunt. 😉

  4. The tree was obviously part of the liberal, lentil-chewing agenda. How dare the teachers strike when mother-nature is so biasedly supporting them? I for one will make it my personal mission to chop down every tree I see in response to this utter outrage (and thumb my nose to “climate change” in the process). Once again Labour’s loony legacy etc. etc. etc.

  5. One more thing. Surely this is an “‘elf an’ safety” issue? I bet if the local council had cordoned off the offending tree with politically correct warning tape the Daily Mail would have had a different story to tell.

  6. Such headlines prey on the tendency of most humans to implicitly trust others. We tend not to have time to vet the validity of each headline. Newspaper regulation should support such trust. But the Mail, it seems, are blatantly focused on exploitation at a level far ahead of any concern for truth or feelings.

  7. it’s true, it’s awful, it’s terribly sad, the DM has the right to tell news stories like any other media.

    What noone has mentioned is that those teachers who went on strike at that school must feel especially dreadful

  8. Really helpful guidelines, thanks. Searching Google for a newly created blog might work, particularly if it’s been tweeted (as Google brings up real time tweets), but in addition searching Twitter itself for should bring up the most recently tweeted Mail articles if people want to check, regardless of what URL shortening system has been used (that won’t bring up blog posts though). Twitter’s search is really helpful for that.

    Similarly, you can see how many people are tweeting and retweeting Mail links by searching for or (it seems slightly different results appear).

    Just in case it might be useful, I’ve written detailed instructions below for how to create and shorten an istyosty link on an iPhone.

    Call up your Daily Mail page of interest (!). Then you need to (1) tap the Daily Mail address bar to open it for editing, (2) tap again to bring up the Select | Select All | Paste menu and choose (3) Select All to capture the address. This brings up a new menu Cut | Copy | Paste – (4) cut or copy are fine. Then replace the highlighted (selected and copied) or deleted (if you used Cut) URL with the (5) istyosty one. If you’ve used istyosty on your phone before the autocomplete will suggest the istyosty address for you as soon as you start typing letters (obviously if you store the page to your homescreen you can access it there too).

    Once the istyosty page has opened, (6) tap into the box (to open it for editing), (7) then tap again to bring up the menu, and then (8) paste, then press (9) Go.

    To shorten the newly created address, for posting on Twitter first copy the address (steps 1-4) then open up your favourite (10) URL shortener eg and do 6-9, then press Shorten / Go. If the URL you’re capturing is an active link (it is on then (11) click and hold to bring up a new menu Open | Open in new page | Copy | Cancel and (12) choose copy. If it’s regular text then press and hold but this time blue bars will appear which you can adjust to select the text you want to copy.

    All the above works for copying blog posts or any links or text 🙂

    I think this might be the original tweet from the Daily Mail? But you may have meant a different one of course, however it does include the word ‘because’ or trapped via Freezepage in case they do delete it

    Hope this isn’t teaching everyone to suck eggs!


  9. Ooh I forgot that typing in a link, even if you don’t add html code around it, can make it active. Don’t click on the Daily Mail link 🙂

    I actually typed it as www but the blog progamme has added it back in. Don’t use http when searching for the domain on Twitter.

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