No one should be harrassed after the death of a loved one.
Zelda Williams got such terrible abuse on Twitter after the death of her father, the legendary comedian and actor Robin Williams, that in response, she quit Twitter and Instagram yesterday.
Yesterday night, Twitter reacted. "We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter," said Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety at Twitter, in a statement. "We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one. This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users."
Those who have been suspended, who were harrassing Zelda Williams, were doing horrible things: some were sending her messages blaming her for her father's decision to end his life. Others were sending her altered photos of her father where bruises were added around his neck.
She tweeted out yesterday, "I'm sorry. I should've risen above. Deleting this from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever. Time will tell. Goodbye."
Zelda Williams had gotten some of the accounts suspended before, but the abusive individuals just opened new accounts and continued the abuse. She seemed to have no choice but to quit the online service.
Her reaction to unplug from social media is natural, considering what she has gone through in the last few days. On the other hand, part of her is responding in another way. She published a eulogy for her father. In one section she said, "To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh. As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you've had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too."
Twitter has yet to state what exact changes in policy the service will enact.