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Twitter to ‘kick trolls off right and left’ as CEO admits it has ‘sucked’ at dealing with the problem

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo has pledged the social network will start kicking trolls off the site after he admitted that there has been a failure to address the issue of harassment and abuse on the platform.

In an internal email leaked to The Verge, Costolo took personal responsibility, saying he was embarrassed and “frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue” during his tenure.

“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years. It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day […]There's no excuse for it,” he wrote.

“I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It's nobody else's fault but mine, and it's embarrassing. We're going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them. Everybody on the leadership team knows this is vital.”

He said the people “working nght and day” to improve it will have the resources they need and there will be “clear lines of responsibility and accountability”.

Twitter had not responded to The Drum’s request to detail its plan to curb abuse on the social network, directing instead to a blog post from December.

The post explained that Twitter had made changes to the reporting process so that it is easier to flag tweets and accounts for review via a mobile devices.

However, some users continue to feel abandoned by Twitter. Kevin Healy contacted The Drum after Costolo’s email was leaked.

Healey, who has autism and is a national autism campaigner and ambassador for autism in the UK, said he has contacted Twitter 1600 times over the course of two years to report abusive impersonations of his account. Twitter has failed to act on any of those requests, he added.

Twitter did not respond to The Drum’s request for clarification on the accuracy of Kevin’s claims.

A number of users have abandoned the platform altogether as a result of abuse. Last year, Zelda Williams quit after receiving abuse following the suicide of her father, Robin Williams. Meanwhile, comedian John Bishop described the platform as a “forum to abuse people” after he and his family were targeted by trolls.

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