In a bold, perhaps unprecedented move, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo both admitted and took personal responsibility for the user abuse and trolling that has been running rampant on his company’s social media platform. In an internal memo obtained by The Verge, Costolo noted that harassment and trolling are driving away Twitter users and called himself on the carpet to make changes.
Losing “Core User After Core User”
Though the problem has gained greater attention lately in the shadow of the ongoing Gamergate bullcrap, in which dip$#!t video game enthusiasts with no real friends or anything better to do have taken to Twitter to harass those who disagree with their idiotic viewpoint, Costolo stated that the problem has been prevalent for some time. He also admitted that Twitter’s response to such abuse has been poor, at best.
“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform,” Costolo’s memo read, in part, “and we’ve sucked at it for years. It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day.”
Costolo pointed to the slow growth of the social media network’s user base as an unfortunate but all too obvious side effect of this highly publicized abuse. “We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day,” he wrote.
“Nobody’s Fault But Mine”
Costolo’s memo clearly has some fire behind it. Though the company has a long and highly detailed policy in place regarding harassment, it has been largely ineffective and poorly enforced. Regarding this, Costolo wrote, “Let me be very very [sic] clear about my response here. I take PERSONAL responsibility for our failure to deal with this as a company. I thought I did that in [a previous memo], so let me reiterate what I said, which is that I take personal responsibility for this. I specifically said, ‘It’s nobody’s fault but mine’.”
What this means for Twitter’s future response to trolling and abuse is unknown. It’s unlikely the company will make such bold public statements (yes, it was an “internal memo” but, c’mon—no it wasn’t) without making changes for the better.
How effective any of these efforts will be remains to be seen, however. Twitter, just like most of the internet, is the Wild West when it comes to users’ personal responsibility—anonymity allows for lawlessness and a-holery that people, face to face in a real society, would never, ever participate in.
But in simply admitting that the problem exists, Costolo made a bigger statement than any other social media executive ever has, to this writer’s knowledge. Mark Zuckerberg has never taken, and likely will never take, any sort of personal responsibility for similar bull$#!t that is perpetrated on Facebook on the reg.
If nothing else, we applaud your boldness and honesty, Mr. Costolo. Well done, sir. Well done.