I'll Believe It When I See It

[Content Note: Harassment; bigotry; abuse.]

Twitter says (again) that it's definitely totally for sure going to address its harassment problem pretty soon:
Twitter is a real time platform for news and conversation, but sometimes that conversation can get quite nasty. The company's laissez faire attitude toward freedom of expression has seen it develop a reputation for toxicity that's scared off several potential buyers, including Disney. That's why, Twitter is now pledging to deal with its cultural problems by making "meaningful" changes to its "safety policy, product, and enforcement strategy."

The prevalence of Twitter trolls is often blamed for the site's slow user growth and difficulty with advertisers. It's hoped that this new strategy will give people "more control over their Twitter experience" and offer the "most important safety features" to users. That may not be enough, however, given that how easy it is to find accounts spreading racism, targeted harassment of women and minorities, or threats of violence.
Twitter has a massive problem. And they are colossally failing at addressing even the most vicious harassment and threats, so I don't even know how they imagine they're going to tackle stuff like the below exchange, which is entirely typical of my experience on Twitter on a daily basis.

[CN: Homophobia; disablism.]

screen cap of Twitter exchange
Me: Saved people's lives. #ObamacareInThreeWords

Random Dude: i hope you get deported

Me: I'm an American citizen, so I cannot be deported. Seems you need to brush up on immigration law.

Dude: i could care less if you are an american citizen or not you dumb dyke, i just want you and your autism out of this country

Me: Why? Because I stated a fact that Obamacare has saved lives? That seems rather unreasonable.

Dude: it has? really, please tell me how and who it saved :)

Me: Here, let me Google that for you. [link to Google search "obamacare saved my life"]

Dude: Ok? that prooves nothing you stupid dyke

Me: You asked me to tell you whose lives it saved. I did. How does that make me stupid?
So, because I stated the indisputable fact that Obamacare has saved people's lives, I got told I should be deported, that I'm a dumb dyke, that I'm autistic, and that I'm a stupid dyke.

And this, mind you, was one of dozens of exchanges I had exactly like it. I don't typically engage with trolls on Twitter, but I did this time, just because the pushback was so immediate and vicious, over three words, and I figured I'd engage entirely reasonably, calmly, and factually, just to demonstrate that the entire point of trolling is to be vicious. Not to engage. Not even if the person they are attacking is reasonable. It is literally just to harm.

Twitter has facilitated that behavior since its inception. How it imagines it will change that culture now, I have no idea. I'll believe it when I see it. And I frankly don't expect to see it anytime soon.

It grieves me that putting up with that shit is the cost of using their technology, which, for entirely other reasons, I value deeply. But I can't imagine it won't be any other way anytime soon. I hope I'm wrong.

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