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Twitter boss says what everyone has suspected about how the company deals with trolls

In a leaked memo, Dick Costolo said he found the service’s lack of action against trolls and abuse ‘embarrassing.’

Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo.
Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo.
Image: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

TWITTER’S CEO HAS taken personal responsibility for the company’s lack of action when dealing with abuse and trolls on the service.

In a leaked memo obtained by The Verge, Dick Costolo told employees he was “frankly ashamed at how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure” and said he took “full responsibility” for the lack of action.

The remarks were in response to a question on an internal forum relating to a story by Lindy West, who has been the target of harassment and abuse on Twitter. When one of the employees asked whether the service could do more, Costolo responded:

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.

He concluded by saying it would “start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.”

In a follow-up memo, Costolo reiterated that he was taking full responsibility for Twitter’s slow response to the problem and will make sure that the necessary support to address this problem would be provided.

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 been heavily criticised for its lack of action regarding trolling, abuse and harassment on the service. While it has promised to address the issue, there are still numerous examples of people being abused, threatened and harassed on the service.

The company will holding its earnings call later tonight where it will update investors on its progress and plans for the year. The company has already introduced a number of new features in recent weeks such as group messaging, video content, and a new deal which will see tweets appear on Google’s search results.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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