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Lena Dunham says abuse on Twitter helped her appreciate Instagram

Lena Dunham says abuse on Twitter helped her appreciate Instagram


"One of the few things on the internet that has actually improved my life."

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Lena Dunham revealed last week that she's relinquished direct control of her Twitter account, but she still misses some aspects of what she considers one of the most toxic parts of the internet. "I love reporting people. It’s my main source of power. I used to love blocking people on Twitter," Dunham said today at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. "There’s no reason I should spend so much time reporting people except that it’s just a fucking joy."

Lena Dunham was reiterating her position on social media networks in a conversation with Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom and Katie Couric onstage at the Yuerba Buena Center for the Arts. Dunham, a devout Instagram fan, explained why the photo-sharing service represents what she enjoys about technology and the internet.

"I like that being able to comment visually as well as pictorially allows for a fuller story to be told," Dunham says, adding that Instagram creates a healthier and less toxic dialog than you might find elsewhere on the internet. "It’s one of the few things on the internet that has actually improved my life."

"Twitter is just too psychically depleting."

The 29-year-old writer and creator of HBO's Girls underwent a torrent of online abuse last week after posting an Instagram photo of herself wearing a sport bra and men's boxers. Much of the abuse took place on Twitter and not on the social network the photo was originally posted. It was a textbook example of Twitter's vile underbelly, and Dunham said in an interview with Recode's Kara Swisher that she's given up looking at the service. She now has someone else tweet for her to maintain her audience of 2.85 million followers.

"I email my tweets to someone who tweets them," she says. "Twitter is just too psychically depleting," Dunham says. "It’s the cause of so much psychic turmoil for people who have not chosen to be in the public eye." Twitter's persistent abuse problem is a sore point for the company, which just appointed original co-founder Jack Dorsey its permanent chief executive yesterday. Before Dorsey took over, former CEO Dick Costolo admitted in an internal memo back in February, "We suck at dealing with abuse."

Abuse is a persistent problem for Twitter

The company has made an effort since to turn Twitter into a more positive experience. It introduced a suite of online resources as part of its Safety Center, as well as some improved tools for filtering out abuse and blocking and reporting abusive accounts. Twitter's user growth has become tepid of late, which was in part the cause of Costolo's decision to resign resignation in June, meaning it's searching for any and all ways to make Twitter more inviting.

Re/code Decode sat down with Lena Dunham last week and discussed her difficult relationship with Twitter. Listen to the special hour-long episode and subscribe to Re/code Decode on iTunes.