If you are on Twitter, which depending on your background, history and sanity I would either recommend or expressly ask you not to be, you will likely have seen an AT&T advertisement with actress Milana Vayntrub. At least once a day I am served a very normal advertisement featuring Ms. Vayntrub, offering some sort of rundown of the available features of the single-least-differentiated industry in the world.
And then I look at the replies, and I see an entire flume of the horniest, nastiest men in the world rambling about her physical features. No, I’m not quoting them, and no, I’m not going to link to it. However, clicking through just about every account responding with some sort of horned-up missive, I’m fairly quickly able to find transphobic, racist and other bigoted messages.
I’ve reported them all, and yet they never seem to go away.
What confuses me is that Twitter, a company ostensibly worth something in the region of $44 billion dollars, regularly seems to miss blatantly obvious accounts to suspend or ban, despite their extremely conspicuous grossness. It’ss not hard to find these accounts — one simply has to use Twitter’s search functionality and add any of the many disgusting ways in which people refer to LGBTQ and you’ll happily happen upon a fresh crop of moles to whack down. Or perhaps you can simply look at the replies to the advertising spend of one of the largest wireless carriers in the world and think “hmm, a woman is in an advertisement…I wonder if…men…might reply in a creepy and gross way…”
You see, the biggest problem with Twitter is that the people working there do not appear to use the website enough. It may seem unreasonable, but it cannot be that difficult to find 7500 people who regularly use a website, and have enough familiarity with it to begin to do even the smallest amount of work to clean it up. Block Party has done more to make Twitter a better place in my mind than anything within the Trust and Safety department that regularly bans friends for joking about hurting a friend in a very transparent way while ignoring the hordes of transphobic, sexist and racist people that happily bumble around the site untouched.
And I think a lot of this comes from a lack of familiarity of what online communities actually look like, and who resides in them. It’s frankly insulting that most of the tech media appears to have a better handle on how Twitter works and the network effects of each part of the site than…