Twitter executives are being torn apart on social media after the company explained that it wouldn’t delete some of President Donald Trump’s more volatile tweets—which clearly violate the platform’s terms of service—because they are newsworthy.
The company’s co-founder Biz Stone is taking the brunt of the attack, and he doesn’t appear to be handling it very well. The employee meant to guide the company’s culture and boost internal morale hit out at his critics in a scathing tweet. “Y’all pile on us. You really think the issue doesn’t weigh on us?” he wrote. “And you’re so dismissive of the Trust and Safety team. We’re all people.”
Y'all pile on us. You really think the issue doesn't weigh on us? And you're so dismissive of the Trust and Safety team. We're all people.
— Biz Stone (@biz) October 1, 2017
His ironically defensive tweet calling out a “piling on” followed an exchange between two Twitter users who suggested that Stone and CEO Jack Dorsey turn a blind eye to abuse.
Stone apologized for his rant the next day, saying, “My words didn’t come out right.”
I really appreciate all the responses. (Apologies—my words didn’t come out right.) We’re listening. Thank you for all this feedback.
— Biz Stone (@biz) October 1, 2017
But users continued to slam him for what they believe is a tone-deaf response to a fundamental problem on the platform.
whether you like it or not you created a public service and now youre responsible for the safety of the people on it. get your shit together
— depressive person (NorWesCon April 9th SEA) (@3liza) October 2, 2017
One user wrote, “I think you’ve thought very carefully and decided that making millions of dollars is more important than user safety.”
yes, we really think the issue doesn't weigh on you because YOU DON'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. Also, no one wants 280 characters.
— Geoff Marshall (@geofftech) October 2, 2017
Yonatan Zunger, a former Google employee, claims to have seen Twitter’s incompetence first-hand. “I worked on policy issues at G+ and YT for years. It was *painfully* obvious that Twitter never took them seriously.”
A tweetstorm from a former employee at the company echoes Zunger’s experience: “Twitter folks are amazing and I loved working there. But there were huge blind spots. Twitter had a chance to be a pioneer in stopping abuse. But we failed…”
We're dismissive of you because you've been so utterly dismissive of the fact that bigots, Nazis, misogynists, and bots have free reign here. "The issue weighs on us" is the "thoughts and prayers" of corporate America. -J
— Heather & Jessica (@fuggirls) October 2, 2017
Others referenced Trump’s threat toward North Korea, a tweet that was interpreted by the hermit kingdom as a declaration of war.
If there’s a nuclear war, you do realize you’re at least partially culpable in it, right?
— C.A. Pinkham (@EyePatchGuy) October 2, 2017
.@biz if it weighs on you, DO SOMETHING. Threaten 1 person, we're banned. Threaten to exterminate 25 million & start nuclear war, no problem
— J for Jenius (@GIowing0rb) October 1, 2017
Pile on you? Imagine the pile of nukes on some people if Trump starts a war on your platform.
— jay gordon | cloud advocate in NYC (@jaydestro) October 1, 2017
Some users spoke of harassment, a problem that has plagued Twitter and other social sites for years.
User @glutenfreegirl wrote, “Women have suffered rape and death threats here for years but sure, you and your well-paid insulated team are the ones who are suffering.”
You guys ban one in fifty users who harass and threaten me and other women on here. Of course we don't take "Trust and Safety" seriously.
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) October 1, 2017
Stone dug himself deeper after he reported a tweet from a neo-Nazi account that clearly violates Twitter’s abuse terms.
When asked if it was newsworthy, Stone correctly responded: “You know it’s not,” he said. “It’s disgusting. I reported it, and I hope you did too.”
It’s been three days, and the tweet and account it came from remain on the site. The name of the account that’s been hiding so cleverly from Twitter’s algorithms and the human error-prone “Trust and Safety” team? “WHITE POWER.”
H/T Business Insider