Popular microblogging platform Twitter is planning to take steps help curb ‘hate speech’ and trolling on its service. As per a report by Financial Times, Twitter Chief executive Dick Costolo said that he found instances of abuse "horrifying", but did not want to undermine their commitment to free speech. Twitter's plans could include censoring replies/comments from users who have no followers, biography or profile picture .
“The reason we want to allow pseudonyms is there are lots of places in the world where it’s the only way you’d be able to speak freely. The flipside of that is it also emboldens these trolls... how do you make sure you are both emboldening people to speak politically but making it OK to be on the platform and not endure all this hate speech? It’s very frustrating,” Costolo is quoted as saying.
No more trolling on Twitter
As per the report, he said one solution would be to hide from users' reply page tweets from individuals that are not seen as authoritative. "These would include users with no followers, no biographical information and no profile picture who just posted abuse on other people’s timelines. But Costolo also admitted this move could diminish the democratic nature of the site and was not necessarily in line with the company mantra that 'tweets must flow'," the report adds.
The news follows the launch of a police inquiry into racist abuse directed at England footballers on Sunday after they missed crucial penalties, a report by the BBC stated. "Chelsea's Ashley Cole and Manchester United's Ashley Young were singled out for abusive comments - known as trolling - on Twitter after England's defeat to Italy."
"Several celebrities and public figures have expressed concern over the volume of abuse on Twitter. Former Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and England footballer Stan Collymore "favourited" - bookmarked - abusive and racist tweets sent to him as a way to highlight the problem," the BBC report added.
Twitter’s difficulties have not been limited to just trolling. The social networking platform suffered a major outage last week that spanned across the microblogging site’s website and mobile applications. With reports speculating hack attacks, Twitter quickly issued a statement saying the outage was caused by a ‘cascading bug’. However, a Reuters report stated that this statement came shortly after hacker outfit UgNazi said it launched a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on the website.
The report went on to state that a security professional informed them that UgNazi may have not been solely responsible for the attack and may have used a DDoS-for-hire site to help in launching the attack on Twitter. However, he claimed that this may have not been the sole reason for the site going down with the backend of Twitter facing issues at the same time.