CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to answer questions about Twitter. Personally, I’m not convinced that this will result in any noticeable improvements to Twitter’s harassment problem.
Representative Diana DeGette asked Jack Dorsey some questions about how Twitter is dealing with harassment. She pointed out the Amnesty International report titled “Toxic Twitter: A Toxic Place for Women”. Her questions were:
- Does Twitter currently have data on reports of abusive conduct, including on the basis of race, religion, gender, or orientation, targeted harassment, and threats of violence?
- Does Twitter have data on the actions that it has taken to address these complaints?
Part of Jack Dorsey’s response was:
“We do have data, across all violations that we have seen across the platform and the context of those violations. And we do intend, and this will be an initiative this year, to create a transparency report that will make that data more public so that all can learn from it and also be held publicly accountable to it.”
He also said that Twitter doesn’t feel it’s fair that victims of abuse and harassment have to do the work to report it. Jack Dorsey mentioned something about creating technology to recognize abuse before people have to do the reporting themselves.
Personally, I’m extremely skeptical that Twitter will follow through with those intentions. I haven’t seen Twitter do anything that effectively diminishes the amount of harassment that women, people of color, and people who are LGBT have thrown at them. This makes me feel like, despite Jack Dorsey’s words, Twitter doesn’t truly think reducing harassment is a priority.
In other words, based on what we’ve seen so far, it is likely that Jack Dorsey’s words are nothing more than a way to appease members of Congress. I would love to see Twitter finally clean up its mess and make the social media platform friendlier and safer. But, I just don’t see any good reason to get my hopes up that this will happen.