biz stone twitter co-founder

Photo via Joi Ito/Flickr (CC-BY)

Twitter’s co-founder lashes out at users for complaining about abuse

Biz Stone quickly apologized, but it was too late.

 

Phillip Tracy

Tech

Published Oct 2, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 3:37 pm CDT

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.”

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.

https://twitter.com/ReggieMikel/status/914227582043688960

Stone apologized for his rant the next day, saying, “My words didn’t come out right.”

But users continued to slam him for what they believe is a tone-deaf response to a fundamental problem on the platform.

One user wrote, “I think you’ve thought very carefully and decided that making millions of dollars is more important than user safety.”

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…”

Others referenced Trump’s threat toward North Korea, a tweet that was interpreted by the hermit kingdom as a declaration of war.

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.”

Stone dug himself deeper after he reported a tweet from a neo-Nazi account that clearly violates Twitter’s abuse terms.

biz stone reports neo-nazi twitter abuse
Biz Stone/Twitter

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

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*First Published: Oct 2, 2017, 1:27 pm CDT