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Twitter CEO Admits Failure With Abuse

‘We suck at dealing with online abuse.’ – Twitter CEO


Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter is well aware of the issues his social media network has with abuse and trolls. Taking it one step further, in a recent memo Costolo takes sole blame for Twitter’s inability to stamp out the abuse.

He took responsibility in two memos that were reportedly sent out to Twitter employee’s and were then passed on to The Verge.

In the emails, Costolo admits that he’s ‘ashamed’ of how Twitter has been handling issues of abuse and trolls.

Here’s the first memo:

‘We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years. It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.
I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It's absurd. There's no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It's nobody else's fault but mine, and it's embarrassing.
We're going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.
Everybody on the leadership team knows this is vital.’

And here in the second memo Costolo is adamant to take responsibility away from the brand and place it directly on himself.

‘Let me be very very 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 my note, 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"
We HAVE to be able to tell each other the truth, and the truth that everybody in the world knows is that we have not effectively dealt with this problem even remotely to the degree we should have by now, and that's on me and nobody else. So now we're going to fix it, and I'm going to take full responsibility for making sure that the people working night and day on this have the resources they need to address the issue, that there are clear lines of responsibility and accountability, and that we don't equivocate in our decisions and choices.

Costolo’s memo was sent to employees following on from a question on an internal forum about a recent story about Lindy West. West is a frequent target of trolling and abuse online. Recently, West’s tormentors created a Twitter account for her deceased father. Utterly mortifying stuff.
She’s not alone, Zelda Williams, daughter of the recently deceased Robin Williams had to quit Twitter after trolls sent her abuse including photoshopped pictures of her father which were greatly distressing and I'm disgusted that people thought up a plan to do such a thing.


I found the story about Zelda to be one of the most awful in terms of abuse. I saw Zelda Williams at a Legend of Zelda Symphony concert, celebrating 25 years of the game series. She was named after the princess in the series. Zelda William’s is a happy, bubbly and lovely person. Zelda never posted anything controversial. But in the wake of her father’s death, ‘people’ out there deemed it fun to do these things to a grieving daughter.

I’ll never quite be able to wrap my head around why people think this kind of stuff is enjoyable, to torment others to such a degree.
I suspect they’re very lonely, very angry and very confused.

An apology from Costolo is all good and fair. Twitter have not done nearly enough to deal with online abuse. But I feel that the issue should be handled at a much more serious level. 

Online abuse is cowardice pure and simple.

Tom Welby

Tom has a degree in Creative and Professional Writing and now he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other interests include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

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Twitter CEO Admits Failure With Abuse Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, February 05, 2015 Rating: 5
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