Will this effort, combined with a new ‘mute’ feature, adequately address the issue?
In the months leading up to the presidential election, Twitter was the subject of widespread criticism over its perceived inaction over bullying and hate-speech on the social media site. Now, it seems that the fledgling company is taking a number of steps to ensure that users of all races and genders are protected from harrassment from bigots and misogynists.
Twitter’s approach seems to be two-pronged. They’ve already announced that they’re rolling out more tools to allow people to distance themselves from hostile or threatening users. Not only will you be able to mute users (as you have been), but also conversations, phrases, and hashtags that perpetuate or breed hate-speech.
Here’s a video overview of how to harness the functions in your daily use of the platform:
The company has also started to become more assertive in banning and suspending offenders from the site after reported incidents. The site has been criticzed for being woefully lax in this regard, especially following the ugly furor surrounding SNL star Lelise Jones.
Recently, Twitter has taken action against prominent “alt-right” (a term white supremacists are fond of using to describe themselves) accounts including one belonging to de facto spokesperson Richard Spencer. Spencer responded to the sanction by Twitter saying:
“It’s corporate Stalinism, in the sense that there is a great purge going on, and they’re purging people on the basis of their views. I and a number of other people who just got banned were not even trolling. I was using Twitter just like I always used Twitter: to give people some updates and maybe comment on a news story here and there.”
Spencer stumps regularly for the idea that white people should occupy their own nation devoid of Constitutional rights.
Twitter has also similarly suspended the accounts of other alt-right supporters including John Rivers, Ricky Vaughn, Pax Dickinson, and Paul Town.
However, suspensions such as these won’t suffice in undoing the years of malfeasance and harrassment that has turned the site into a preferred outlet of hate-speakers.
But it’s a start.