There has been a lot of rumbling lately about Twitter. While there’s a lot to like about the service (it remains my favorite and nearly exclusive social media outlet), Twitter has also become a playground for some pretty abusive and vile people. Charlie Warzel at BuzzFeed did a an impressive bit of reporting tracking the history of abuse of Twitter users and the company’s general failure to address the problem since the beginning. While I had known about some of the recent problems, I didn’t realize that this stems back to 2008. I recommend reading the entire article. It’s quite informative but also a bit disheartening.
Twitter responded that portions of the story are untrue but they don’t explain what those portion are or provide any further clarification. Having watched friends (primarily female) go through the Twitter meat grinder, I think the BuzzFeed story gets things generally right.
My one bit of feedback is that I don’t buy Twitter’s claim that they’re worried about lawsuits. Most people on the Internet have the ability to kick somebody off their website or service if they feel like they are behaving badly. If you don’t believe me, read the terms of service of every website on the Internet.
I think the reason why Twitter has been ignoring this problem is because they want everyone to use Twitter, even the jackasses. Maybe it’s time they grew up and started cracking down on this. If not, the rest of us will start voting with our feet.