There are more than 300 million active users on Twitter, the “micro” social media site that has, in five years, gone from novelty to necessity. It’s been a great tool for entrepreneurs, publishers (like this one!), and artists. It’s also been a great tool for trolls and hate-filled people, and that’s something the company has finally set out to combat, with today’s announcement of the creation of the Trust and Safety Council.
The Trust and Safety Council is, at this point, a nebulous collection of organizations (most notably, Feminist Frequency) meant to provide some sort of guidance as far as correctly policing actions on Twitter, but the purpose should be fine-tuned in the near future, according to the release. Specifically,
With hundreds of millions of Tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power. It requires a multi-layered approach where each of our 320 million users has a part to play, as do the community of experts working for safety and free expression.
The creation of this council comes on the heels of a recent Internet controversy, in which a developer tweeted “Wow people on Twitter are mean” in response to rumored changes in Twitter’s timeline algorithm.
But, instead of receiving support from developer buddies, he was welcomed by Twitter users’ recounting tales of actual, life-threatening harassment. This happened four days ago, so whether or not it was any impetus for the creation of this council, who knows.
The user, Brandon Carpenter, did tweet that he would report users’ experiences to his team, so perhaps this was an influence. Or, it’s just a serendipitous coincidence that a Twitter developer became privy to the harassment channeled on the platform he’s created just days before the announcement of a new council that hopes to police that same kind of harassment.