Liam Starr
Category: Harassment/ Mental Health/ Bans and Regulations/ Democratic Voice

Industry: Social Media/ Twitter

Location: Global/ United States

Related to: Political Grounds/ Social Media Reform/ Mental Health Conditions

Reviewer: Liam Starr, School of Design Strategies, Integrated Design

Company: Twitter

Website: twitter.com (via buzzfeed.com)

The idea that harassment takes over an online platform meant solely for expression and creativity is a concept that is no longer foreign to many of us, especially those of us in the United States. A democratic, open, free voice that has the liberty to spout whatever nonsense into the ‘twitter-verse,’ or any other ‘verse’ for that matter is a right that many of us take for granted in today’s life ruled by online interaction. It has been, however, a right taken advantage of by those who in turn are free to spew hate and harassing comments to whoever they please. Twitter has long been a company with abuse problems; that is, problems addressing said abuse and taking the just action to correct these negative interactions. Leslie Jones, a comedian and actress had to delete her Twitter simply because of all of the racist, anti-feminist, and unjust comments she was receiving (mind you, this was only fueled by the fact that a movie she starred in was released that same week). As one may guess, the implications of said abuse and interactions could lead to devastating mental health consequences, not unlike that of a bullied student in school. Lower grades, lower motivation, lower self-esteem, the list continues. But in an article released by Buzzfeed, the Twitter VP of Engineering went on a so-called “twitter rant” to discuss the changes the company plans to implement as a cause of prevention. He said, “Twitter didn’t move fast enough to tackle harassment last year, and said a number of product changes are coming in the days ahead to address it.” Now, whether those changes target the actual enemy, (to reiterate, hate filled people with an agenda to harm) instead of whom the policies normally affect, (unfortunately, more liberal people with an agenda to spread words of protection and wisdom to oppressed groups) is going to be an outcome only new policies in 2017 will help to unfold.

I would also like to defend my choice of this news as an “innovation” which some may argue as not. Most think innovation involves a technological advance or a new product which makes life more simple. But I argue that a social change is as much an innovation as the others, and in many ways, social media is a technology which affects our daily lives and health.

Link to article: https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexkantrowitz/twitter-to-make-big-product-changes-this-week-to-combat-hara?utm_term=.su36JdxWR#.gsxj7Xnl4

Photo below: screenshots of Ed Ho, Twitter VP of Engineering tweets