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Bullshit Technology

If only we’d known, say the people who knew

Writing on Twitter, co-founder Ev Williams (@ev) talks about the problem of abuse and harassment on the platform.

*And*, yes, we (Twitter) should have invested more heavily in abuse before. I think we did more in the early days than we often get credit for (and they are doing way more today). *And* I personally underestimated the looming problem during my brief tenure as CEO.

Had I been more aware of how people not like me were being treated and/or had I had a more diverse leadership team or board, we may have made it a priority sooner.

This is something you see from all the social media heads: if only we knew people were being bad on our services! But they did know. High profile publications were highlighting the problem of abuse more than ten years ago.

Here’s just one example, from the high profile news site C|Net. It describes Twitter’s “wishy-washy” approach to online abuse and compares it unfavourably to other social sites.

Either way, what Waldman calls “community management” is something that Twitter has to sort out–fast. As Twitter breaks further out of Silicon Valley culture, the service will invariably have to deal with users who cry foul over far tamer situations. Much like its famous outages, which the site finally addressed in full this week, abuse and harassment is something that Twitter can’t simply ignore.

The date stamp on the article? May 2008.