I’ve utilized social media for over 25 years, way before it was referred to as “social media.” From AOL chatrooms to IRC (internet relay chat), I’ve seen the internet evolve over a quarter of a century. But much hasn’t changed in terms of its being a fount of knowledge, as well as a cesspool of harassment and trolling. And since the advent of Twitter, it seems to have only gotten worse.
With a single tweet, a person has the ability to sexually harass, threaten a life or call someone a racial slur, either under the veil of anonymity or by throwing away all the fucks and using his or her actual name and photo. And over the last couple of months, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-creator and CEO, has tried and ultimately continues to fail when it comes to dealing with Twitter’s harassment issue.
On Tuesday at 9:07 p.m., I tested out Dorsey’s “new, improved” reporting system. I reported a photo that Michael Rapaport tweeted to staff writer Monique Judge and myself. It was basically a GIF of a man unzipping his pants, basically insinuating that we should suck his dick. At exactly 9:10 p.m., I received the following automated response from Twitter:
Is there an actual human being viewing each tweet that’s reported? I truly doubt it. But it brings up the fact that harassment on Twitter is easy to get away with as long as you belong to certain categories. You should:
- Be white.
- Be male.
- Make sure you’re harassing a black woman or another woman of color.
That’s pretty much it. Dorsey doesn’t give a shit about solving Twitter’s harassment problem. I mean, why should he? He’s two out of the three categories. And sure, there are people who will say, “Well, if you don’t like it, leave it.” And you’re absolutely correct, but a lot of people don’t believe in letting shitty people win.
Reporting harassment on Twitter and having it resolved shouldn’t involve pulling teeth. Jack Dorsey is complicit. And one of these days, the other shoe is going to drop and the harassment is going to go from online to offline, and he’ll find himself on the other side of a lawsuit.