Skip to main content

Twitter CEO takes stance against abuse, vows to eliminate trolls from the platform

In an internal memo sent out to employees, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo acknowledged the platform's ongoing problems with harassment and abuse as well as its inability to combat trolls. Costolo admitted that this behavior was a key factor in driving away core users from the platform, and that he would be taking an aggressive stance against trolls on Twitter.

According to the internal memo, which was acquired by The Verge:

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.

Costolo's comments came on the heels of an internal forum about a recent story by author Lindy West, who is a frequent target of harassment on the platform. He then reiterated that he was taking personal responsibility for Twitter's failure to deal with trolls, and that he intends to address the issue immediately:

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.

Twitter has rolled out tools that allow users to report abuse, but it looks like Costolo is looking for a more comprehensive solution to counter harassment on the platform.

Source: The Verge

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • So there is going to be like 23 people left on Twitter.
  • I like the statement! And it's really an internet issue not a twitter one but the strong stance twitter is taking will definitely be felt! If only facebook/Instagram cared about these things now. The amount of abuse & spam i see there is insane. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The only real troll is the one trolling 3rd party twitter API developers and strong-arming them to quit. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You obviously don't know the meaning of the word.
  • He has misdiagnosed the real problem of why people (core users) are leaving. That they,Twitter, have become too intrusive,with trying to monetize the "core users". And becoming an ad platform. Twitter,meet, my space! Posted via the Android Central App
  • How else do you think they can make money? You want to pay a monthly fee for twitter? Posted via the Android Central App
  • They only have a few sponsered tweets, really not a big deal. You're like the users who complain when once or twice a week they see an ad on Instagram and go insane telling them to remove ads.
  • 50% of my feed has nothing to do with the followers or has any relation to them, it's crap twitter forces into it.
  • Yes, get the trolls off Twitter, Mr. Costolo. It's a bummer to read a great tweet, then see nothing but inappropriate, offensive replies. Posted via AC App on HTC One
  • It's also a bummer to read ridiculous, offensive tweets from dimwitted celebrities who don't have the tiniest clue as to what they are talking about. Perhaps Twitter should start kicking them off too. Posted via the Android Central App on the 2nd Gen. Moto X
  • Don't follow them. Solved.
  • Not according to Twitter. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The main reason I ever got into Twitter was because of @evleaks. Posted via the Android Central App
  • What a bunch of politically correct cry babies. Grow Up! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Is it really "Politically Correct" to hold people to a standard in how they interact with others? We do it in society. Ever heard of slander? Looks like you need to do a little growing yourself. Posted with the sexy GN4.
  • Where does slander come into play? Trolling and slander/libel are two different things Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oh how gentle and sweet of you. "Slander" what a joke. I've noticed a certain group of individuals who only permit free speech that is convenient for them. Hypocrites. Posted via the Android Central App
  • As he said, it's shameful how long this has taken them to address. I hope they stick to their hard words because Twitter could be so much better! Posted via Android Central App
  • Less troll-talk-garbagr and more openness for 3rd-party apps please. Posted from my TARDIS!
  • While trolling on Twitter can be a problem. This also has the potential of going in the other direction. That post will be deleted that are not trolling or bullying just for the sake of political correctness. Posted via the Android Central App
  • or false reporting because someone doesn't like what another says, any tipe of criticism can be construed as trolling though
  • Good luck with that. Sent from my Sony Xperia Tablet Z
  • Twitter CEO wants to fight harassment/abuse/trolls but is more than happy to force intrusive ads not just to Twitter app but to other apps and now Google search as well.
  • Glad they're finally acknowledging the trolling problem. I'm all for free speech, but its gotten way out of hand. Posted via the Android Central App