Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has admitted his company may not be the best at dealing with online abuse, and is taking personal responsibility for this.
An internal memo was leaked revealing the CEO's feelings about how abuse is handled on Twitter, with Costolo saying that he's embarrassed about the company's failures in tackling online abuse.
"We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years. It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day," said Costolo in the internal memo. "I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It's absurd. There's no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It's nobody else's fault but mine, and it's embarrassing."
Twitter has made feeble attempts at curbing online harassment in the past, but it was never really effective. In 2013 the company added "report abuse" buttons to Android and iOS apps, but that was only done after 150,000 signatures were gathered on a Change.org petition. Most consider the button to be widely ineffective. It also made an agreement with the advocacy group Women, Action and the Media (WAM) to moderate abuse reports, with WAM posting a form on its website with which women can report cases of Twitter users harassing females.
Twitter also introduced new tools last December to make reporting abuse on the platform easier, although that change doesn't seem to have really changed much.
In Twitter's defense, however, seriously putting a stop to abuse on Twitter would be difficult. Accounts are simply linked to email addresses, so if a user gets banned from the site, all they have to do is create a new account linked to a different email address.
It seems, however, that Costolo is prepared to finally take on the challenge, judging by the rest of his memo.
"We're going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them," Costolo said in his memo.
"Now we're going to fix it, and I'm going to take full responsibility for making sure that the people working night and day on this have the resources they need to address the issue, that there are clear lines of responsibility and accountability, and that we don't equivocate in our decisions and choices," he continued in a follow up email the next day.
Online abuse on Twitter has been rampant since the inception of the company, but it was largely made public after Zelda Williams, Robin Williams daughter, received disturbing images and threats after her fathers' death.
Only time will tell if Twitter actually does make an effort to put an end to online abuse, although it finally seems as if the company's leader has the want to do so.