As the public and political pressure continues to mount on social media platforms to make it safer to surf online, the focus of much of the critique has shifted. Facebook, which spent most of last year and the first half of this year very publicly fighting to protect its brand from a flurry of accusations and scandalous headlines, seems to be starting to gain traction with consumers.
Facebook continues to root out bad actors on the platform and very publicly announce their successes, including another 600-plus closed nefarious pages this month alone. As Facebook continues to publish its progress, consumers and tech industry reporters are openly wondering what’s happening at competitors, such as Twitter.
In response, Twitter has released a series of reports promising to do better and be more effective at both blocking bad actors and mitigating what many have called the increase in vitriol and abusive content on the platform.
In one of the most recent public statements, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey promised to “question everything” about how his platform works and how people use it. Current targets include “spam, abuse, and so-called ‘fake news’ in the guise of organized disinformation campaigns, that both the social media companies and the US government blame on foreign countries.
While Dorsey has not been as public about what has changed with Twitter as his rival Zuckerberg has been at Facebook, Dorsey’s statements assure consumers that much is being done “behind the scenes” in an effort to stop “harassment and hate speech.”
Those looking for quick solutions, especially heading into this year’s election will find no comfort in Twitter’s position. Dorsey says his company is playing the long game, looking for solutions rather than quick fixes.
While this may be an honest message, it’s not one that will instill the confidence many critics are struggling with regarding the safety and security of social networks and the information distributed on them.
Dorsey hopes users think in broader, more big picture terms. That message may be a tough sell to jittery users who have been burned multiple times in recent years on social media, but here, in part, is the pitch from the CEO:
“We are aware of some of the silos and how we’re isolating people by only giving them crude tools to follow accounts. We need to broaden our thinking and get more back to an interest-based network…”
Critics are calling this a self-contradictory position that does little to solve the main issues that worry consumers. Based on the series of messages coming out of Twitter’s PR department, they, at least, seem aware of this pushback. How they will shift their messaging to address it remains to be seen.