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Dear Twitter: you still suck at helping people get rid of violent harassment

Dear Twitter: you still suck at helping people get rid of violent harassment


It's really simple -- now fix it

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Some of the worst harassment on the web is on Twitter. Just today, I had to call my colleagues at The Verge into action to report an anonymous egg who made rape and death threats against a Vox Media employee — it's far from the first time we've had to do it, and it probably won't be the last.

Twitter has promised to strengthen its response to harassment on its platform, and has taken some positive steps in that direction, but it's still failing on a very basic level to protect its users. Here's just one of Twitter's broken features: when you block someone and report them on one Twitter client (again, in this case, for violent threats of rape and death), their tweets will still show up in timelines on other instances of Twitter. So, for example, if you block someone on the web and then walk outside and check the official Twitter app on your phone, there's a chance you're going to have your timeline invaded again. The same is true for Tweetdeck, another of Twitter's official products; block someone in the web or mobile client, and their violent tweets can still show up in your Tweetdeck columns, and they won't go away unless you close and re-open it or unblock and re-block the offender.

It's a terrible hassle that's been around for a long time, and Twitter still hasn't fixed it. And with more random eggs than ever showing up to harass people thanks to miserable online gangs like Gamergate, it's past due. Making promises to reduce the headache of reporting abusers is a good step, but not if you ignore the basic problems that have plagued your platform for years.

Fix your product.