I’ve been increasingly disturbed by the overall lack of civility online, but even more disturbed when I read Buzzfeed’s piece on Twitter’s decade-long history of choosing not to deal with harassment and threats, hiding behind free speech. You can report tweets and accounts sure, but nothing will happen. I’m actually surprised Kelly got a response. In all my reports, albeit for harassment directed at others, Twitter has never responded to a single one. After the fracas with Leslie Jones, they implemented a new feature that only gives the appearance that reported tweets are being dealt with. They simply hide the offensive tweet from the account that reported it, making the user think it was removed. The content still exists for everyone else to see.
For those who say you can just mute or block the trolls, you’re right. The point is that the behavior shouldn’t be allowed at all. Forums should have standards. Users should feel safe. Twitter has had 10 years to figure out a solution and harassment inhibits how regular users express themselves. Free speech isn’t free if only the most offensive in the community get to exercise the right.
P.S. to Kelly — Congrats on getting this guy’s account suspended. Too bad it took publicly shaming Twitter to do it.