Twitter Cracking Down On Trolls
August 19, 2014
Just days after her father's death, Zelda Williams, the daughter of the late Robin Williams, walked away from Twitter and Instagram and said she may never use them again:
This was the result of some really hard core bullies tweeting cruel words and horrible pictures about her and her father.
Bullies aren't anything new. We all have to deal with trolls and their cybernated slop. But the effects of this harassment can be damaging. And while it'll never be easy for social media platforms to police abuse, Del Harvey, Twitter's Vice President of Trust and Safety, issued the following statement in regards to Zelda Williams' harassment:
"We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter. We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one. This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users."
Twitter does have a system that lets users report abuse, document harassment and -- in some cases -- get bad accounts taken down. But that doesn't stop the harasser(s) from creating new accounts.
So how do you manage people, armed with a smartphone or keyboard, slinging crap?
Don't React Immediately.
Online trolls have the power to redefine our brand in an instant. Take a breath.
Walk Away From Anonymous Posts.
Most people in this world are kind and will reveal their identity when they have something valid to say. It's the dark underbelly of social that speak incognito.
Comments Are Only As Valid As The Person Behind Them.
You are the bigger person. Silence will starve the troll and force it elsewhere – eventually.
We Teach People How To Treat Us.
When we tolerate people's rudeness, we are telling them it's OK to treat us poorly. It's not. Take action.
Free speech does not mean permission to lack civility on social media without accountability. Block, mute, delete, and/or ban.
There's a difference between free speech and abuse, and Twitter, along with other social platforms, are starting to pay more attention to their own policies and remove the small portion of people perverting the social space.
If you're being attacked on a level that violates the fundamental human right to live without being beat down verbally, emotionally, or even physically, it's not free speech.
Harassment isn't the victim's issue. It's the bully's. And to ever insinuate we should put up with it defies logic.
We all have a choice in how we use social, for good or for evil.
Choose your words wisely.
By the way - there's a site where you can look up someone's Twitter account to see if they're a troll. Spammers and sock puppets tend to have commonalities. Trolldor will show you if a person is worth your time.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
Please enjoy MERGE archives here.