People want the social network to spend less money on poetic viral videos, and more on tackling abuse
Every time Twitter tries to announce a new development on the platform that isn’t curbing the vast amount of trolls, army of Russian bots, and a war mongering President, people clap back.
During the Oscars, Twitter ran a TV ad which they later posted online. It featured unknown women alongside the likes of Ava DuVernay and Issa Rae reciting the words of queer poet Denice Frohman.
“I heard a woman becomes herself the first time she speaks without permission," the ad begins before finishing with the hashtag #HereWeAre. However, many were quick to pull out some receipts.
How about you spend the money you used on this ad to hire moderators to kick accounts that terrorize women off your platform?— ella dawson (@brosandprose) March 5, 2018
How about you hire more engineers who aren’t men to build your platform so that you don’t have giant blind spots putting users at risk? #HereWeArehttps://t.co/RBDtfYkKQY
The social media site has come under fire countless times for its lax stance on abusive behaviour. Women, particularly those in the public eye, have faced extraordinary amount of abuse on social media – especially women of colour.
For example, Amnesty International found that most abuse hurled at politicians is directed at non-white figures. During the British General Election, half of all the 25,688 abusive tweets sent to women MPs were directed to Diane Abbott, Britain’s first black female MP. Yet here they are co-opting the vibrant feminist activist movement that has was started online by women who often feel unsupported by it’s moderators.
The company also faced criticism after Trump’s threats of war to North Korea, activists projected the words “@jack is #complicit” on the walls of Twitter HQ implicating the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey for not removing potentially harmful tweets.
As Twitter announced that this latest ad is its “biggest single ad spot buy”, many, like human rights lawyer Nani Jansen Reventlow have said they’d rather see the companies funds put towards protecting its female users. “I loved the poem,” Reventlow told CNN. “But would have preferred to see the money spent on that ad go to the staff and resources needed to make their platform a safer space for women.”
There was similar backlash when Twitter introduced the 280 character extension. After the announcement, many users utilised the longer length to pen tweets asking for the company to take a stronger stance on trolls.
The company declined to share how much they actually spent on the ad but have at least shown some moves towards taking the issue of online abuse seriously. Recently, Dorsey put a call out for experts who could give advice for how to deal with its troll problem.
“If you want to improve something, you have to be able to measure it,” he tweeted. “The human body has a number of indicators of overall health, some very simple, like internal temperature. We know how to measure it, and we know some methods to bring it back in balance.” Instead, he pledged to focus on “building a systemic framework to help encourage more healthy debate, conversations, and critical thinking.”
Mind you the ad didn’t bother us too much it’s just amusing that it’s a bit like this Levi’s Woke skit from SNL. Watch the full Twitter video below: