Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Trusty Support

Sarah Jeong, Vice:

In a remarkable meta-commentary on Twitter’s Report Abuse system, the parody account @TrustySupport, which mocks Twitter for failing to suspend harassing accounts, was, uh, suspended. […]

This story also raises some questions about resource allocation and corporate priorities at Twitter. It’s a little weird that a parody account, whose chief criticism of Twitter is that it doesn’t do enough about harassment, was shut down because of trademark enforcement. And it’s even weirder to find out that the decision was made with apparent care and actual internal discussion at the company.

The argument is not that Twitter should suspend accounts with less oversight; it’s that they ought to prioritize which accounts are suspended. Minor trademark issues with obvious parody accounts should be of a significantly lesser importance compared to users who harass and intimidate repeatedly, and get away with it.

On the most recent episode of the Tomorrow podcast, Joshua Topolsky talks about the kind of threats he got for merely mentioning Gamergate in a New Yorker column. There is no doubt in my mind that it would have been an order of magnitude more awful were he a woman.

There’s a lot going on with Twitter, but the harassment that continues to permeate the platform and dominate so many of its discussions is, without a doubt, a problem that is absolutely critical for them to solve. The internet will always have assholes, but restricting their ability to subject others to their intolerance and abuse should be a priority of any communication platform.

Jeong’s article is admirably funny for an issue with such deep implications.