There’s been a disturbing trend of late out in these Twitter streets. Ongoing I should say. The perpetrators have changed (slightly) but the victims, Black women, remain the same. Oh the stories I could tell of the years of abuse that several of the Black women I follow – and countless others that I don’t – have endured on that platform.
Twitter has done little to nothing to alleviate the doxxing, abuse, rape & death threats and harassment that these women go through on the daily. I’ve heard tell that third party platforms have helped alleviate and/or manage the problem, but it remains a public shame that Jack and crew have not been leaders in this on their own platform.
This fatal error is one that many of his ilk have made, make and will continue to make begins when putting together a social media platform that millions will eventually use. They are largely affluent white males who have no experience with the levels of hate, vitriol and abuse that is heaped on those who are not white males.
So whatever types of TOS or tools to report or block harassment that end up integrated into their platforms are woefully unprepared to deal with the reality that is for many of us online. And frankly, when they are told by users over and over and over again for years on end – I think they don’t actually believe it. Or don’t care about a demographic that might not be the majority of their users, so the problems continue to pile up exponentially.
Interesting that a few months ago two major articles appeared in two major outlets on the same day – or the same week, I forget – pretty much ridiculing Twitter and Jack because their platform’s reputation was in the toilet. What Youtube comment sections used to be like times 1000. That this was the main reason he would continue to be unsuccessful in selling Twitter off to the highest bidder. Why nobody wants to purchase this cesspool.
Trust and believe that’s the modus operandi. Create platform, boost users, become ubiquitous, sell at a profit, move on to the next one; rinse and repeat. I figured that those articles which bounced around the world and back would be the thing that finally galvanized Jack et al into action.
But of course no. Because of one other key thing I suspect is happening. I’m going to assume that Jack answers to a Board of Directors, many of whom have a vested interest in the success (and eventual sale) in Twitter. This is yet another pitfall that many fall prey too.
The BoD is told that “buzz” or “activity” esp New User Account Creation is a mark of a successful platform and is the telltale sign of GROWTH. It looks really great on paper, but the reality is quite sickening and sad. I’ll use an amalgam of experiences to illustrate what I mean.
For over 5 years there’s been this one guy (white, male) who creates about 10-20 new accounts a day – we callem sock puppets. He’s a whole industry all by himself. He uses these accounts to harass this certain Black woman who used to wake up every morning to her mentions full of posts like
“you ni**er bitch, you black bitch, fuck you ni**er whore, I will rape you dead” etc
She was able to utilize those aforementioned 3rd party platforms to not have to see about 95% of those posts, but some still always got through. Back in the early days of Twitter you had to manually block each account. hence the creating of another account to tweet out the same sludge, get blocked, and repeat.
Now multiply that one guy by 100 or 100,000 – millions? They make Twitter look “buzzy” and “active” and keep New User Account Creation at a continuous high. Now why on EARTH would the creators of a platform want to get rid of THOSE guys – especially since they’ve told the Board that the type of activity those accounts generate are the Markers For Success?
The incentive is low, to put it mildly.
Fast forward to today, where the trend is for Nazis – yes actual Nazis, I’m so sorry – to start in the places they gather (reddit and so on) and target Black women on twitter and do mass complaints against those accounts when they fight back – and guess what the end result is?
The Black women and other marginalized people who are being targeted in this fashion end up having their accounts blocked from Twitter. The writing was on the wall when Twitter basically sanctioned Nazi’s and white supremacist accounts by granting them blue check marks ie allowing them to have verified accounts.
Sometimes the victim will have her own verified account, but because the system of reporting and banning seems to be AUTOMATED? – when you have 100s of sock puppet accounts being egged on by a verified Nazi – the system seems to go by numbers? And will assume if an account is getting so many complaints (whatever the magic number is, is anyone’s guess) they MUST be the bad guys and boom – account banned.
I’ve seen little to no recourse when people are tweeting on some adjacent account they have, or (adding to the metrics) are forced to created a new account to implore Support to have their main account reinstated. The process is either very very slow, or I have not seen any of the recent dozen or so that have been brought to my attention getting their accounts back.
The sad thing is, I’ve been through this whole thing before. I spent years duking it out with the powers that be – Linden Lab, the creators of the Second Life virtual world platform – on these very same issues. The creator and subsequent CEO’s (they’ve had many) all fell into the same traps. I was always fighting a losing battle, because the harassers were deemed the “money makers” due to their “activity” and there seemed little interest in quality of content vs the rising numbers of New User Accounts on a graph.
I wrote this open letter three years ago. If you want to get even just a glimpse of the kinds of endless crap I was dealing with over there. I was reluctant to link myself to my Second Life account, but you know what, I’m TIRED and I really don’t care anymore and I haven’t logged into there in over 8 months anyway. Enjoy the nostalgia of a Live Journal blog – that’s the only niceness you’ll get if you read that post.
And that was NOTHING really, if I want to keep it 100, in comparison to what so many Black women and other marginalized users have gone through with Twitter. Don’t hold your breath, because that paradigm shift that will be needed to address this acute problem will not ever happen anytime soon if ever.
So Twitter will continue to be a toxic place for far too many & the Nazis and abusers will continue to reign supreme. And still we Rise because for now, Twitter is a platform where we who have not had a voice, are able to speak on the things that matter to us in this world – and be heard. Somebody please make a viable contender so we can ditch this platform and thrive in peace over there instead. In the meantime
Jack and his “Stay Woke” tee-shirts can go fuck himself.
Gee, I wonder why…