Twitter has a troll problem – and Dick Costolo, the company’s beleaguered CEO, knows it’s bad for business.
“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” Costolo, who has come under investor scrutiny of late given Twitter’s sluggish user growth, wrote in an internal memo obtained by The Verge. “We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.”
Poised to report its much-anticipated fourth-quarter earnings this afternoon, Twitter will become more aggressive about banishing abusers. “I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front,” he wrote. “It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing.”
Costolo made the statements on an internal company forum after Lindy West, a feminist writer and one of the platform’s most vocal troll targets, shared her story in The Guardian. After writing about the problematic nature of rape jokes, one of West’s trolls made a Twitter account for her deceased father and continued to harass her.
After Robin Williams’ daughter was driven from the service on the heels of his death, and in the wake of “Gamergate,” in which prominent women in the gaming world were repeatedly harassed by trolls, the last time Twitter unveiled an updated process for reporting harassers was in December, according to The Verge.