Twitter has a troll problem
It's official. Twitter can't handle the trolls.
Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's top lawyer, admitted in an op-ed on The Washington Post that the company has been "inexcusably slow" in addressing the kind of vicious online abuse that exploded onto the national consciousness with Gamergate this past August.
"Freedom of expression means little as our underlying philosophy if we continue to allow voices to be silenced because they are afraid to speak up," said Gadde. The problem is especially urgent for women and minorities, who routinely face rape and death threats from anonymous cyberbullies.
This comes after a study conducted by Kick It Out, a sports "equality and inclusion" organization, found that 88% of abusive mentions from soccer fans occur on Twitter. Meanwhile, only a tiny fraction of similar cases happen on Facebook, blogs, forums and other forms of social media.
Gadde promised that Twitter was making a series improvements on this count, including beefing up its detection and enforcement tools, overhauling its safety policies and hiring more staffers to field complaints. Sounds promising, but not so fast. "Twitter's user growth has been largely stalled under 300 million for months," reports Business Insider's Jim Edwards, providing a possible motive for all the feelgoodism. Anonymity, after all, is hard to monetize.