Twitter Policy of Protecting Abusive Language Called Into Question
NEWS ANALYSIS: A BuzzFeed profile has very publicly called out Twitter for refusing to rein in abusive and threatening language purely in the name of free speech.An extensive BuzzFeed profile puts the spotlight on Twitter's decade-long policy of tolerating abuse and hate speech in the interest of supporting free speech. Some might say Twitter is exhibiting a blind deference to an open-ended definition of free speech. The issue is coming to a head because of recent high-profile incidents and because of the enormous reach of Twitter's social network, which has been increasingly used by large enterprises as a marketing channel. In the U.S. today, 66 percent of all companies with 100 or more employees use Twitter for their marketing, including 83 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, according to Brandwatch. Yet it's a platform that has, Charlie Warzel writes in the Aug. 11 BuzzFeed profile, "made an ideology out of protecting its most objectionable users." While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leapt to publicly respond to a single accusation of political bias, Warzel details countless times that Twitter leadership has shrugged off—if they've responded at all—reports of incessant abuse, with comments that amount to, "Yeah, we stink at that."
In July, when "Ghostbusters" actress Leslie Jones announced she was taking a break from Twitter, after suffering a deluge of stunningly offensive comments, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reached out to her and very soon afterward implemented a little blue "Verified" icon that verifies a well-known personality and builds in a few filters for keeping out spam and blocking offensive users.