NISKAYUNA – Court decisions over the next few weeks will likely determine if a college student succeeds in her legal bid to learn who is behind the Twitter account @niskyfails that she alleges has been harassing and defaming her and her family.
Schenectady County Supreme Court Judge Mark Powers in the most recent ruling paved the way for Caroline McGraw, 21, to subpoena Twitter.
It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether attorneys representing McGraw had served the subpoena against the popular social media platform. McGraw, the daughter of former Town Board member Denise Murphy McGraw, is being represented by attorney Mathew Tully.
“Despite being made aware of these proceedings by Twitter and presumably by local media coverage of this case, the account holder has failed to appear in these proceedings,“ Powers wrote last month.
The filing also mentions that @niskyfails did not submit any opposition in writing.
As a result, Powers granted the subpoena “only to the extent of obtaining basic subscriber information,” including but not limited to log data, customer records such as the names of the account holder, email address, phone numbers and the types of devices used to access Twitter with prohibitions on tweets and direct messages.
@nisky fails did not respond to text Tuesday seek comment.
They have, however, in the past maintained that Caroline McGraw is a public figure who ran for and was elected to a political position as a delegate for then- presidential candidate Joe Biden in 2020.
“We feel Caroline McGraw’s legal action is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence her and her mother’s political critics by burdening them with the cost of legal defense until @niskyfails abandons their criticism” said a text from May.
Once the subpoena is served, Twitter will have 20 days to respond with the basic subscriber information, including a name, cellphone, and email address or other contact information, said Tully.
He said they will also furnish an IP address for every time a person logged into that Twitter account. Once they get the IP, they can match it to the Internet provider.
Then sometime later this month or next, they will likely have to return to court in a bid to get the Internet provider to reveal the account holder’s identity.
Tully is hopeful that by September they will have the name connected to the anonymous account and can then sue them.
“I think at the end of the day this is going to be a case study in how you don’t believe what you read on social media, that there may not be an upswing of community revolt, that it may be one sophisticated person, and I would argue that having multiple Twitter accounts isn’t even sophisticated anymore,” Tully said.