Editor’s Note: Information contained in this story is disturbing and alarming. Jaclyn asked that we publish it without redacting the slurs she has endured. We will be sharing her story in a three part series to raise awareness about NC anti-cyberbullying laws and to highlight one young woman’s determination to fight back.
Our staff has had multiple conversations with Jaclyn and tell you that while she is a victim of significant online harassment, she has empowered herself to AdvaNCE change. Over the next three days, you’ll understand how, and what you can do to join her fight.
READ PART 1 BY CLICKING HERE.
Twitter’s response to my impersonation, stalking, and harassment:
I spent more than two weeks reporting the harassment and impersonation to Twitter, often multiple times a day. I had to send Twitter copies of my ID over 20 times. Contacting Twitter safety has practically become a full time job for me, taking me away from my actual business. Twitter allowed this to go on for over two weeks, continually sending me notifications siding with my stalker and allowing the account to stay up.
Twitter claims that they do not allow impersonation. However, there appears to be a loophole. The social media platform allows “parody accounts”. Parody accounts are pages meant to poke fun at celebrities or public figures. I am neither. However, my stalker wrote that the account impersonating me was a “parody account”. Therefore, Twitter told them that they had 48 hours to get into compliance with their rules for “parody accounts”, which included not using my full name. The stalker then changed their name from Jaclyn Brzezinski to “Jacklyn” Brzezinski (they just added a “k” to my name) and Twitter allowed them to keep the account up. The stalker then added a line in their bio that said “Round 2 is going to be interesting.. stay tuned” which was a direct implied threat to me that they were going to up the ante with their harassment. I have researched this extensively and Twitter is apparently notorious for not protecting its users and allowing this sort of harassment to go on. It is absolutely negligent and shocking. Twitter claims that “doxing” is against their terms of service. However, there is no way to report “doxing” on their platform and they appear to only selectively enforce it.
Ironically, Twitter even has a chat function for speaking with a Twitter representative about harassment and abuse. However, as soon as you log into it, you receive an automated message that the chat function is “temporarily unavailable”. This chat function is not “temporarily” unavailable. In my experience it is perpetually unavailable and extremely misleading. There is no phone number to call and no way to speak with an actual human being as all Twitter responses to abuse reports are automated. In addition, Twitter informed me three times that my account had been hacked / logged into from Richardson, Texas, which they also did nothing about. I finally sent Twitter a message on June 29th that I would be suing Twitter for copyright infringement, negligence, and being complicit in allowing a white supremacist group to continually harass me. I also asked if they would like a copy of my FBI report before I sued them. The next morning the account had been taken down.
However, based on my research, Twitter does not block the IP addresses of offending accounts so there is nothing preventing someone with a suspended account from creating a new one. Malicious users are allowed to continue making fake accounts and harassing people with little to no repercussions. The person(s) stalking me have already attempted to make a second account impersonating me and when I search my name, I can still see these accounts continuing to spread slander and lies about me and my small business.
Police response to my impersonation, stalking and harassment:
I have visited the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) twice in the last month in order to report the massive amount of cyberstalking and harassment I have received. The first police officer I spoke with an officer at the Eastway CMPD Precinct, while concerned and well-intentioned, told me he was not familiar with these types of cases and advised that I “just ignore it” and “keep reporting it to Twitter”. He briefly left the room to speak with CMPD cyber crimes and when he returned, he said that cyber crimes would not investigate the case for online impersonation because no money had been stolen from me. Also, because I did not know the exact identities of my stalker(s), he discouraged me from filing a full police report and only issued me an incident number.
During my second trip to CMPD, the police officer I spoke with at the Trade street precinct informed me that there are no NC laws protecting me from cyberstalking and targeted harassment via social media, impersonation, doctoring my photos to include anti-Semitic hate speech, contacting my family members, friends, and clients with defamation and slander, trying to get me fired from a job, sharing my address and phone numbers online for the purpose of harassment and stalking, etc. He was ridiculously condescending, barely listened to my story, and kept speaking over me. He also victim-blamed me for sharing my photos online. He said “Have you not been on Facebook? Have you not been on Twitter? Have you not seen the things people post? Why would you post your photos online?”. He also informed me that until someone threatens to kill me and/or beat me up, or steals money from me, there is nothing CMPD can do to protect me. He said that communicating threats in the state of NC must involve explicit threats of bodily harm and that implied threats of “ruining one’s life” do not count as a threat in the state of NC. This officer also stated that my stalker contacting my friends, family, and clients could maybe be seen as harassment of them, but not of me. When I told him about the photo of me with my parents using the caption “Is your dad or your mom Cindy the filthy Jew? Which side did you get the virus?”, he matter-of-factly said “That’s freedom of speech”, with not an ounce of compassion or concern. I asked him if I should just wait at home for these Nazis to find me and he said “Have they posted that they are coming to your house to kill you?”. I replied “No, but posting my address and photos of my home is an implied threat on my safety” and he said “Implied threats don’t count”. I asked about speaking with someone in the cyber crimes division and his response was “You can come back Monday thru Friday and speak to someone in cyber crimes if you want but they will tell you EXACTLY what I have already told you, that there has been no crime committed”. Twitter even has a form for law enforcement to fill out in order to report accounts for harassment, but the CMPD officer refused to do it. I walked out of both police stations in tears, feeling like the police had totally failed me and that no one could protect me.
To add insult to injury, CMPD’s cyber crimes webpage has an area which states “Need to report being stalked or harassed over the Internet?” and links to Wired Patrol – this is a defunct website which has not been updated since 2016. There is no longer any way to actually report being stalked or harassed through this site. CMPD is passing off the responsibility of dealing with cyberstalking & harassment to a private company who no longer appears to be in service.
Editor’s note: After writing this article, Jaclyn has since been contacted by a detective from CMPD Cyber Crimes who has been very cooperative and is currently in the process of getting approval by a police attorney and a Superior Court Judge in order to file a court motion to Twitter to provide the IP addresses of the accounts which have been impersonating, stalking, and harassing her.