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Twitter admits losing users over failure to tackle online trolling

Twitter is losing users because the company is not adequately dealing with the issue of online trolling, admits its CEO Dick Costolo.

An internal memo obtained by The Verge, found that Costolo takes personal responsibility for the social network’s failure to address the problem.

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“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years,” Costolo wrote. “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.”

The firm’s CEO later issued a follow-up comment explaining that Twitter will be more vigilant in the face of online abuse, vowing to “start kicking these people off... and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.”

In December, Twitter released tools that streamlined its process for reporting abuse, after users had complained that the process was arduous and unnecessarily long-winded. However, despite the new tools, the sheer volume of abuse circulating on the micro-blogging platform means that users are often subjected to offensive comments, sometimes of a racist or sexist nature.

Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda recently left Twitter after received disturbing images relating to her father’s suicide last year, while a number of other celebrities have also been the victims of online trolling.

While some have argued that censoring trolls goes against free speech, as a private company, Twitter clearly feels that it has a code of conduct to uphold which includes tackling abuse.

Read more: Twitter introduces another new feature for new users

Twitter is not the only online platform tasked with improving its response to cyber bullying and online abuse. In the past, Facebook trolls have been noted to target tribute pages for those who have passed away, while Tumblr users have also often been subjected to offensive comments.

Barclay Ballard
Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.