Twitter is a standard tool in a millenial’s social media tool belt, however it also leaves users open to attack from internet trolls and bullies. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said last week in a leaked memo that “we suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” and that enough is enough, essentially declaring war on trolls.
A recent high profile example of the vicious attacks that users can face on Twitter happened to Zelda Williams after the tragic death of her father, the actor and comedian, Robin Williams. Zelda was sent photoshopped pictures from trolls on Twitter of her father’s bruised body and shortly after announced she would be closing her account.
“I’m sorry. I should’ve risen above. Deleting this from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever. Time will tell. Goodbye.— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams)”
It is exactly cases like Zelda Williams’ that Costolo wants to address and he sees it as a real problem for his company that is his responsibility.
“We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day. 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.” said Costolo
In November Twitter joined forces with an advocacy group called Women, Action & the Media (WAM) to address the harassment of women on Twitter.
A research study done by the Pew Research Centre last October found that young women 18-24 years old are disproportionately more likely to face abuse online.
Ironically, last week, Jimmy Kimmel also released a new edition of his popular segment “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets”, which is his shows attempt to draw attention to the sometimes ridiculous abuse celebrities face on Twitter. Checkout the clip below.
[Escapist] [The Verge] [Pew]