Founded in 2006, the micro blogging site revolutionized social media and public opinion, through its 140 character limit posts called “tweets.” Twitter currently has over 300 million active users and ranks 165th on the global Alexa (as of February, 2017). Lately, the social networking site has been in the news for all the wrong reasons due to its cyber bullying and lack of ability to deal with trolls.
The 20th season of South Park showcased episodes based on trolls and highlighted how people got away with diabolical proportions of bullying on social media. Twitter users all over the world have often complained about how twitter had done little to cope up with cyber bullying. In July 2016, Twitter permanently banned controversial public speaker and entrepreneur, Milo Yiannopoulos over his remarks on African-American actor, Leslie Jones’s role in the Ghostbusters reboot movie. Milo tweeted, “a movie to help lonely middle-aged women feel better about being left on the shelf,” to his 300,000+ followers on twitter, which further sparked personal attacks on Leslie Jones. This incident shines light on an unclear checklist for getting banned on twitter, as on one hand Twitter promotes free speech, but on the other it bans users without substance or doesn’t when there is.
While a harassed user can report a tweet if he/she finds it offensive, on account of a continual case of trolling the user might seek to block the offender account. The biggest flaw in all this is that the user was not able to see tweets from the offender post blocking the account. Obviously, a troll would continue to troll and there is a good chance that the victim would know from his/her followers.
Twitter has launched a new feature that to deal with such abuse where a victim can report a tweet whenever he/she is mentioned in it.1 The question that arrives is that, why did it take so long to introduce such a basic feature?
Former Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo admitted the lack of thought put onto cyber bullying during the Upfront Summit in LA, stating:
“I wish I could turn back the clock and go back to 2010 and stop abuse on the platform by creating a very specific bar for how to behave on the platform… I take responsibility for not taking the bull by the horns.”
Is this enough? If content can be regulated as per the rules of a specific country, why can’t there be a more efficient way to combat cyber bullying on Twitter.