After facing another uproar due to one of its members, Milo Yiannopoulos, directing hateful tweets to actress Leslie Jones, who appears in the new Ghostbusters remake, Twitter is trying to change its reputation as a social media site that allows abuse of members. Twitter suspended Yiannopoulos' account because of this last incident, but has been hesitant to act in other cases. Twitter is the only mature social media site that allows a wide open forum for users. Other sites such as Facebook have made it more difficult to see anyone's posts. Privacy has become one way to protect users from just this sort of abuse.
Twitter Running Out of Time
Several critical posts have commented that Twitter is running out of time to get their house in order. Leslie Jones was harassed so much in this particular case that she has decided to leave the social media site. Twitter's most recent move has been to institute a new verification system to automatically verify users. You might remember that Facebook made some changes to their rules requiring members to use their real names for their accounts. For a few months, they went through accounts and closed the ones they felt were not real people. In Twitter's verification system, they are attempting to do the same thing, but as bad as Facebook's efforts were (because a lot of people do not use their real identity online for various reasons); at least Facebook has put in place privacy options for members. One of the problems with the privacy options is that if you do any kind of content marketing or social media marketing online, it is pretty easy to find you. And some of the false identities that people use online are to protect their privacy or are pseudonyms they use for business.
Open Forum for Hatred?
Twitter relishes the fact that their site is an open forum. However, it is clear that some members cannot be civil when they can tweet any member. Twitter's new verification system is a good idea so that other members know that your account is the real you. However, your account can be verified by visiting your website and finding your Twitter URL there. The biggest question is how much control this new verification will have over abusive members. Obviously, members can be abusive when using their real name like Milo Yiannopoulos. Therefore, while verification may resolve a trickle of abusive accounts, it will probably not be a solution to the real problem that Twitter has.
Twitter is a much-used and unique social media site with a long history in the terms of the internet. But if the site cannot overcome the abusive treatment of members by other members, then it will lose its membership quickly. There are excellent reasons for having an open forum, but not good enough to allow rampant abuse and hatred to spew across the platform.