Lindy West’s exit highlights Twitter’s ongoing problem

‘We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls’ — Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, 2015

Twitter’s asshole problem isn’t exactly news. Costolo’s admission was prompted, according to a piece in Salon, by Lindy West’s account of being trolled by some scumbag impersonating her dead father.

Last July, actress Leslie Jones … well, read for yourself.

And then Jessica Valenti …

When rumours started circulating last fall about the Tweety Bird being in play, we speculated about the possibility that it might prompt a bit of cleanup.

When Twitter moved late last year to crack down on hate speech and suspend the accounts of a few high-profile abusers, we wanted to approve, despite our misgivings about how it was framed and how effective it would be.

Later last year, that guy with short fingers and orange hair used the platform to lash out at a critic, with entirely predictable results.

Fast forward to this morning, with Lindy West’s announcement that she, too, has had it:

… Neo-Nazis mine my personal life for vulnerabilities to exploit; and men enjoy unfettered, direct access to my brain so they can inform me, for the thousandth time, that they would gladly rape me if I weren’t so fat.

I talk back and I am “feeding the trolls”. I say nothing and the harassment escalates. I report threats and I am a “censor”. I use mass-blocking tools to curb abuse and I am abused further for blocking “unfairly”. I have to conclude, after half a decade of troubleshooting, that it may simply be impossible to make this platform usable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators.

Hello, Twitter?

 

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