‘Huge fail’: Twitter says not enough done to prevent online abuse

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says he would give himself a ‘C’ grade in the fight against online abuse.

Jack Dorsey
Twitter, along with social media giant Facebook, has faced criticism for abusive posts, fake users and inaccurate news stories on its platform [File: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said Silicon Valley companies, including his own, have not done enough to protect victims of online abuse, calling it a “huge fail”.

Interviewed via Twitter by Kara Swisher, cofounder of the tech news site Recode, Dorsey tweeted that he would give himself a “C” grade for what Swisher termed “tech responsibility”.

“We’ve made progress, but it has been scattered and not felt enough,” he tweeted in response to Swisher’s questions.

“Changing the experience hasn’t been meaningful enough. And we’ve put most of the burden on the victims of abuse [that’s a huge fail].”

Twitter, along with social media giant Facebook, has faced criticism for abusive posts, fake users and inaccurate news stories on its platform.

Facebook previously said it had deleted thousands of posts in an attempt to crack down on what it deems to be hate speech.

The company said that deleting posts can “feel like censorship”, but that it is working on explaining its process better and improving its enforcement of hate speech.

Facebook defines hate speech as attacks on people based on their race, sexual orientation and other “protected characteristics”.

Activists and human rights groups say Facebook has allowed people to use its platform to incite hatred and violence, particularly against minority groups such as the Rohingya.

In August 2018, Facebook admitted it had been “too slow” to remove anti-Rohingya hate speech, and banned a number of users from the site.

The company said it has taken steps in an effort to remedy this, including taking down 64,000 pieces of content that violated its hate speech policies.

‘Coordinated manipulation’

Last year, both Twitter and Facebook removed several hundred fake accounts used for propaganda and other forms of what the companies called “coordinated manipulation”.

Twitter has been investing heavily to improve what Dorsey has described as the “collective health” of Twitter.

Dorsey also said he does not like how Twitter tends to incentivise outrage, short-term thinking, echo chambers, and fragmented conversations, and that the lack of diversity in the company has not helped in combating such problems.

He said Twitter’s work against “automations and coordinated campaigns,” along with its collaboration with various government agencies, has left it in a better position to combat the threat of misinformation for the 2020 US presidential elections.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia used social media during the 2016 US elections to sway voters – a charge Moscow denies.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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