Despite strong suggestions of how Twitter could combat bad behavior on its platform, the platform has failed to adequately address the harassment that occurs on a daily basis. This includes widespread and targeted mobbing campaigns, lewd comments and messages, and death threats.
In 2017, Pew Research found that around 41% of Americans have experienced online harassment, including the following: offensive name-calling, purposeful embarrassment, physical threats, sustained harassment, stalking, and sexual harassment.*
A qualitative and quantitative study conducted by Amnesty International noted that “Twitter can be a toxic place for its female users” and the site had failed to “meet its responsibilities regarding violence and abuse.”
Jack Dorsey, the founder and CEO of Twitter, has admitted “the system makes it super easy to harass and abuse others.”
Unfortunately, harassment on Twitter can arise from any number of things and can extend into your professional use of the platform.
Industry competitors may join in on harassment and work to diminish your professional reputation.
Your professional work or views can come under attack.
Harassment unrelated to your work can lead to people contacting or tagging your employer.
DMs are a common place where sexual harassment can occur—often under the guise of professional engagement.
Holding Others Accountable
With Twitter’s less than perfect reporting system, users seek other ways to hold people accountable for harassment. Depending on the severity and scale of abuse, different routes can be taken. Unfortunately, all of these come with some level of personal and professional risk. Rather than solutions, they’re options with their own potential and realized consequences.
There are no real routes to winning when it comes to addressing abusive behavior. Bearing the brunt of harassment can be embarrassing and temporary and traumatic and lasting.
danger At its extreme, it can leave individuals having to flee their homes, opt for burner phones, and permanently change the way they interact with the world, as The New York Times reported in a series on the topic. Holding people accountable can be incredibly challenging or impossible. It can also have professional implications:
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