Why Twitter Was Too Slow to Stop Trolls

Why Twitter Was Too Slow to Stop Trolls

Woman being harassed and bullied on social media platforms

Twitter often comes under attack for the social media platform’s seeming inability or unwillingness to deal with online trolls. Since 2012, there has been a big push towards tackling this problem, as seen with current CEO Jack Dorsey’s tweet, Twitter’s abuse policy updates and former CEO Dick Costolo’s statement regarding the issue of abuse and trolling on the platform.

Perpetrators of abuse and harassment, Twitter “trolls”, not only make the online experience more miserable for everyone but they often lean on misogynist, racist and otherwise bigoted rhetoric. Twitter trolls have been the driving force behind the GamerGate controversy, targeting women in the gaming industry, and the bullying that forced Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones off the platform.

Twitter Logo and App

While the Leslie Jones incident did lead to the permanent banning of high profile “professional troll” Milo Yiannopoulos, Twitter has been relatively ineffective in most cases of reported harassment online. Users have, for the most part, been left to fend for themselves, even in the face of violent death and rape threats, leaking of private personal information and daily harassment. TwitterAbuse.Sucks, particularly if you’re a woman in the public eye online.

Some Twitter users have been taking matters into their own hands, including gaming journalist Alanah Pearce, who exposes trolls to their own mothers and BuzzFeed Canada writer Scaachi Koul, who stuck it to Twitter trolls by exclusively quoting lines from Good Will Hunting. When left to their own devices, targeted users are forced to get creative. And we’re glad they did. But even so, Trolling.Sucks.

Users who don’t like the way Twitter handles (or doesn’t handle) online abuse have been flocking to new platforms like gab.ai, who claims to “put people and free speech first.” This seems to be a particularly popular, as the platform has achieved an 18K Alexa rank since its creation in August. If Twitter doesn’t move fast, people are just going to move elsewhere. Perhaps this is why Twitter’s stock is falling, why they are losing ad revenue and why no company wants to buy them. As it stands now, TheTwittersphere.Sucks.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter's CEO
Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO.

Former CEO Dick Costolo laments the issue of Twitter harassment and even blames himself for not doing more to combat it. Current CEO Jack Dorsey addressed the issue and ushered in a new wave of abuse policy updates, including muting and better reporting tools. But as long as Twitter allows itself to be ruled by the worst factions of the internet, it can only go further downhill.

What do you think about Twitter’s new abuse policies and it’s handling of internet trolls? A .SUCKS domain can help you join the conversation today. Be part of the solution to combating harassment online and make social media fun and safe for everyone.

Photos: Shutterstock / Mike Focus, Shutterstock / PiXXart, Flickr / JD Lasica