Friday, 4 November 2011

Twittering about eating disorders

Leire Pajín
SPAIN Ministers are at present absent from their offices, busy campaigning. In any case, they are only temporary until the next government is sworn in (after the General Elections on November 20). But some of them left behind at least a few things to think about. One of these was Health Minister Leire Pajín, who, having taken the social network Twitter to task over profiles encouraging eating disorders, later  announced that she would be raising the matter at a meeting of European Union health representatives in October. There is no news that she did, but she did say at the time, "this is a problem that is not just ours but is much broader and it's something that is spread across social networks. We have to stand together and ask Twitter and other social networks to help us to block or stop the proliferation of such profiles."Indeed, Spain last week petitioned Twitter to remove controversial profiles from its pages, but the US-based company refused.>>>
"Twitter firmly believes in the importance of freedom of speech and works to guarantee that freedom is maximized," the microblogging site stated in its response to the government.

Pajín said she will seek EU support to find a solution to the proliferation of material defending anorexia on Twitter. The Civil Guard's telematic crimes division has taken up the government's baton after a citizens' initiative brought the matter to the attention of the Health Ministry.

"During the summer we received a number of messages on Twitter asking us to take action in the face of the proliferation of 'tweets' in favor of anorexia," Pajín said. "New technologies are a fabulous communication tool but can also be used with harmful intentions for people's health."

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