Twitter, you are being out of order again. Caroline Criado-Perez – the freestyle campaigner and feminist journalist – has quit the micro-blogging platform because once again she was being showered with vile abuse. This sort of despicable behaviour isn’t confined to the misogynists. A lady once threatened to cut-off the head of Carl Packman’s horse because he had the audacity to write a reasoned blog on feminism. (Carl would like it to be known that he does not own, nor has any intention of owning, a horse).
Ms Criado-Perez wants the police to arrest those who have written nasty messages to her. While I sympathise, no-one should be expected to take the abuse she has received, this would not a good use of police time. At best they will slap the wrists of a handful of individuals, but the police can’t stop such nastiness from occurring again and again. It is the responsibility of Twitter to mange the atmosphere of their site. After all, if they can’t do this then more people like Caroline will leave Twitter, the platform will be become dominated by the yah-boo nasties, which will make it a less interesting place to be.
The simple to use and open format is what gives Twitter its strength, but this also makes it vulnerable to be abused by bullies. While I have no sympathy for the easily outraged crew (i.e those who follow someone they disagree with and then moan about what that person says) it is a fundamental flaw in Twitter’s make-up that you can’t stop abuse from a stranger until after the first occurrence has happened. Here are a couple of suggestions as to what Twitter could do:
· users should be able to choose to only view Tweets from those they follow. This includes retweets.
· Twitter should employ people who are tasked with monitor the traffic towards certain high-profile people.