Twitter released a new update on 7 February addressing concerns with online harassment. The platform has been criticized for years for their lax take on the trolling and harassment that goes on within their virtual walls.
Right from the beginning, Twitter has attracted those of the particularly repugnant persuasion who have used the service to anonymously send a deluge of hate to people. But as the service aged, new breeds of harassment began to emerge. And that’s part of the problem. Twitter’s obvious inaction showed potential harassers that their behaviour was tolerated on that platform. This snowballed into the idea that Twitter was a place that allowed complete “freedom of speech.” From racism to sexism to homophobia, the Twitter trolls run the gamut. And any attempt to curb this behaviour was heavily resisted with caps-locked complaints of censorship.
Even after tech-famous programmer Randi Lee Harper presented a list of possible solutions that she was able to program herself, nothing had been changed.
But now we have a new set of online harassment deterrents, but rather than silencing people, Twitter just gives them their own tab. The “less relevant replies” just take a scroll and a click to find. It’s the same with the search. Rather than stopping the harassment, people who don’t like it just don’t have to see it. Is this enough?
I am happy to see that Twitter is trying to curb accounts that are created specifically to harass by users who have already been suspended before. This is a much bigger problem than I expected it would be. I mean, who has the time to create Twitter account after Twitter account specifically to send rape threats to the same woman over and over? Well, this guy apparently.
In my opinion, Twitter has let this crap snowball for far too long and now they’re trying to get in front of something that’s traveling at warp speed. As long as I’ve been on Twitter, and as much as I appreciate the connectivity with others, I look forward to the next platform that overtakes it. Maybe they will have a better understanding of what to do with trolls.