Essays on Technology and Culture

Charlie Warzel – “A Honeypot for Assholes”

This maximalist approach to free speech was integral to Twitter’s rise, but quickly created the conditions for abuse. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, which have always banned content and have never positioned themselves as platforms for free speech, Twitter has made an ideology out of protecting its most objectionable users. That ethos also made it a beacon for the internet’s most vitriolic personalities, who take particular delight in abusing those who use Twitter for their jobs. This spring, the Not Just Sports podcast posted video of sports fans reading a sampling of the hateful tweets that the sportswriters Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro received while writing and reporting. The video amassed over 3.5 million views on YouTube. Its message: This level of depravity is commonplace on Twitter.

— Charlie Warzel – “A Honeypot For Assholes”: Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment

Scathing. This only confirms my theory that Twitter’s apathy on abuse and harassment is baked into the company’s culture, and that the teams responsible for fixing the problem are rendered powerless because of it. I’m starting to suspect that the only solutions for Twitter’s endless harassment problem are either a new service with anti-harassment baked in from the start, or for Twitter to be bought out and its executive staff replaced.

Neither option seems likely to me.