Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has admitted something we’re all well aware of: Twitter is pretty bad at handling instances of abuse on its platform.
“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years. It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day,” said Costolo in an internal memo obtained by The Verge.
“I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It’s absurd. There’s no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing.”
The admission came in response to internal discussions about a recent This American Life story, in which writer Lindy West talks about her harassment at the hands of some on Twitter.
If you’re Twitter, it’s hard to deal with this issue for a multitude of reasons. For one, you don’t want to be a platform that’s seen to be limiting free expression.
On the other hand, Twitter can’t be a platform for rape threats. What’s the line? Where does Twitter draw it if they find it?
In August of last year, following a spate of high-profile stories of large-scale Twitter harassment, Twitter promised to work on its anti-abuse policies. By December, Twitter had unveiled new protocols for reporting abuse.
In the leaked memo, Costolo promises to get rid of “these people” at all costs, saying that everyone in Twitter leadership knows how “vital” it is.
“We’re going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them,” says Costolo.
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