Does Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey take harassment critically sufficient?

Getty Pictures

Hey @jack. Can we speak?

This previous weekend was the Jewish vacation of Yom Kippur, after we ask forgiveness for our transgressions and forgive others for theirs.

However this 12 months, I used to be having an awfully laborious time with Twitter. 

So I made a decision to put in writing this open letter to you, Jack Dorsey. I determine Twitter’s CEO and co-founder can be a superb place to begin.

You have been making strikes these days that simply do not make sense, and it is turning into an issue.

I am not speaking about questions of how you will flip a revenue or persuade extra folks to affix at this time’s 328 million tweeters. And I am actually not anxious how you will keep related as a result of, due to President Donald Trump, Twitter has that written throughout it on daily basis and in headlines all all over the world.

I am speaking about selections that undermine your integrity and ignore what truly issues.

Let’s be frank: It is advisable take care of harassment. The pervasive, nonstop, on a regular basis, all-encompassing harassment some folks have been subjected to in your platform. It is the hate campaigns, the racism, the intimidation, the lethal assault and the Russian interference within the US election. All of it.

Actuality is coming down laborious on social networking, and nobody appears extra publicly oblivious than you.

When Twitter met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill final week, these issues had been on full show — although, to not the remainder of us, since testimony was behind closed doorways.

One senator, Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia, mentioned the assembly was “deeply disappointing” and “confirmed [an] monumental lack of information from the Twitter staff of how critical this challenge is, the menace it poses to democratic establishments, and once more begs many extra questions than they provided.”


Because you hardly ever say a lot about harassment, and the corporate declined to make you obtainable for an interview, I will go forward and ask my seven questions right here as an alternative.

1. Do you even suppose harassment is an issue Twitter wants to unravel? Twitter might have been house to political actions just like the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Road and #BlackLivesMatter, but it surely’s additionally turn into a haven for divisive and evil hate campaigns.

Take what occurred throughout final 12 months’s election. The Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights group, counted 19,000 anti-Semitic tweets focusing on Jewish journalists between August 2015 and July 2016. Throughout the identical interval, 2.6 million anti-Jewish tweets might have been seen as many as 10 billion occasions, the ADL says.

Yep, that is loads to watch. Nevertheless it seems all that awfulness got here from 1,600 accounts. Twitter’s headcount alone is greater than twice as large as that.

There are many different examples of unhealthy actors utilizing Twitter to spew their abuse. 

There have been the assaults on comic Leslie Jones over her position within the female-led reboot of “Ghostbusters.” There was the high-profile exit out of your platform by Zelda Williams, a younger girl whose solely crime gave the impression to be grieving for her father, comic Robin Williams. There’s the greater than three-year-long marketing campaign of #GamerGate, through which those that complain about how girl are portrayed in video video games are attacked by Twitter trolls. And there is the heartbreaking abuse of revenge porn, which, admittedly, is tough to police as a result of Twitter permits porn on its service.

Taken as an entire, Twitter’s stance on harassment can both be described as opaque or negligent.

To be honest, individuals who work with you say Twitter’s strategy to harassment has been getting higher, specifically since you’ve amped up partnerships with high-profile hate-monitoring teams just like the ADL to establish abusive conduct and assist folks extra simply report when it begins.

However I feel it is time for you, @jack, to definitively say that you just imagine #harassment stems from an issue with the way in which Twitter works and that it is one thing the corporate wants to unravel.

And in case you do not imagine that? Nicely, then allow us to all know so we will decrease our expectations.

2. When will you are taking your phrases of service critically?These terrible acts I discussed above? They routinely violate Twitter’s phrases of service, which ban exercise like direct and oblique violent threats, harassment and hateful conduct.

So why then do not we see large efforts through which Twitter moderators shut down accounts once they violate your guidelines?

Possibly Twitter’s been doing it quietly, since you do not publicize what number of harassers have been booted off the platform. (There are few instances I can recall of high-profile folks being ousted from Twitter, similar to conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli.)

Maybe you are about to ramp up your efforts?

Or possibly shutting down all these accounts would trigger a dip in Twitter’s energetic person rely, a knowledge level intently adopted by traders and Wall Road.

So, after all, I’ve to ask…

three. Are you unhealthy at policing Twitter as a result of it is good for enterprise? I hope not.

four. What is the take care of Trump? I am not criticizing the man. I am asking this as a result of Twitter has clear pointers that Trump has violated. And this is the place it will get wealthy: You acknowledged as a lot final week.

However, you mentioned, due to the “newsworthiness” of Trump’s tweets, they will stay.

Mainly, you’ve got created a two-tier system of “newsworthy” individuals who can say and do no matter they need, and the remainder of us need to comply with the principles.

I do know, The Wall Road Journal final 12 months reported that Fb additionally held Trump to a special customary.

However we’re speaking about Twitter. So, @jack…

5. What are the phrases of service for a “newsworthy” account? We already know “newsworthy” folks could make violent threats towards the lives of thousands and thousands of individuals, as Trump did towards North Korea.

So what else can he do now? Can he dox somebody, like when he gave out Sen. Lindsey Graham’s cell quantity on nationwide tv?

Can he harass folks, like when he attacked TV present hosts and celebrities?

How about hateful posts like these disparaging tweets about Muslims and refugees? Are these OK?

And by no means thoughts that the White Home instructed a court docket Trump blocks individuals who criticize him on Twitter, doubtlessly denying them their First Modification proper to petition their authorities.

Contemplating all the liberty of these accounts, I’ve to ask…

6. Can I be a “newsworthy” particular person? I do work for the world’s largest shopper tech website, and I’ve at all times questioned what it is prefer to be an abusive troll. Or do I have to turn into president of the USA?

7. In mild of all this, why are you devoting time to one thing that appears trivial — like testing 280-character tweets? I imply, actually. It is foolish. And tone deaf.

Aren’t there extra vital issues in your to-do checklist?

Or, as I believe, do you simply suppose harassment is not an issue that Twitter wants to unravel?

Do you may have some questions for @jack, too? Let’s hear them.

iHate: Proinertech seems to be at how intolerance is taking up the web.

Fixing for XX: The tech trade seeks to beat outdated concepts about “ladies in tech.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.