It’s not an issue that is new, nor is it one which I’d consider small/negligible/insignificant, but it’s one which has led to us all being rather fed up; the issue being Twitter, and its lack of performing any extent of moral duty to keep its users safe.
In the past, I myself have gotten into a bit of a ‘Twitter disagreement’ shall we say, which is inevitable once in a while. It rooted from the invasion of privacy and leaked naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence, and the masses of insensitive, irresponsible and downright immoral jokes that followed.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if people had seen this one particular tweet, of which the caption read “Ariana Grande’s nudes have been leaked too” and attached was a photo of a little girl. So, of course the child in the photo (who looked about 6 or 7) had been on holiday, and somehow her completely nonsexual holiday picture had found its way to the internet. Without a question, we, as well-socialised and aware individuals, can easily identify that this is morally unacceptable; to sexualise a child, especially for the entertainment of internet-users, is not okay.
This leads me to my first issue with Twitter; the difficulty of reporting child exploitation. If you’ve ever tried to report something or someone on twitter, the list of options is a bit of a joke really. My first impression is that Twitter does not care about the safety of you, the user. Three out of four of the options when you report a user are simply about the running of the site, is the site being filled by spam accounts etc.
The fourth option, ’this user is abusive’, allows you to go a little more (emphasis on the little) in-depth. However, again we are met with very vague and unrepresentative options, which could leave the average, concerned user (me) rather confused. Yes, in my opinion this user is abusive, but apparently not in twitter’s opinion. Even if you happen to find a category to fit the violation into, and you fill out the necessary forms, we are met with another hurdle. Twitter is not prepared to review or take seriously reports made by those who are ‘not directly involved, but find this content offensive.’ To that I sarcastically say OK SON? and that is my second issue with Twitter.
This entire system reminds me of primary school; I remember when I was about 7 and I had my first experience of informed racial abuse. The fact that spectators (yes we were all kids but still) said absolutely nothing to stand up against the discrimination, it was down to me (since I was the only one ‘directly involved’ as twitter would say) to report it to the head teacher. This is not how it should be at all, yet this is the kind of attitude twitter seems to be encouraging; “unless you’re involved, just move on, pass by, ignore it all”.
This takes me further into explaining my disagreement on twitter, which swiftly progressed into a violent lash-out involving racism, homophobia, misogyny and the occasional rape threat, to keep it super simple. And the obvious course of action? REPORT IT. But what happens if the reporting system is confusing, inefficient and ineffective? What happens if it takes 5 days for a non-automated response? What happens if you the, victim, get suspended instead of the attacker? (rolls eyes)
Yep, nothing happens. And that takes me onto my third issue. By delaying dealing with an issue as serious as this, and then unfairly denying the victim their right to speak out, it leads to an attitude where people fear being responsible and mature and are discouraged from reporting unacceptable behaviour. I may well be exaggerating but what if this attitude transfers into everyday society? Social media plays such a huge role in modern society so should it not reflect the expectations of modern society?
A friend of mine summarised this all perfectly: “Twitter is a social media site for the absolute masses and its reporting system should meet the standards that the masses require”.