Twitter CEO admits company ‘sucks’ at stopping abusive trolls


The CEO of Twitter (TWTR), Dick Costolo, has said the company “sucks” when it comes to dealing with trolls who post abusive messages on the popular social networking site.

In a private memo leaked to The Verge, Costolo said that bullying and abusive behaviour on Twitter was so bad users were staying away from the site because of it.

Costolo said that he was “ashamed” and took full responsibility for Twitter not being more effective when dealing with abusive posts and trolling.

“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” Costolo said.

“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.

“I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It’s absurd. There’s no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing.”

Costolo’s comments were made on one of Twitter’s internal forums where he was responding to comments relating to a Twitter user, Lindy West, who had been the target of abusive messages by trolls.

Commenting on how Twitter plans to deal with trolls and abusive messages in the future, Costolo said: “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.”

In December, a post on Twitter’s official blog announced improvements to the site which make it easier for users to report abusive posts.

Problems with so called Internet trolls is more prominent now than it has ever been with several high profile users of Twitter forced to stop using the site after receiving abuse.

In 2014, Zelda Williams stopped using Twitter after being taunted by trolls following the death of her father, actor Robin Williams.

In the UK, Sarah Payne, who has campaigned for the protection of children following the murder of her daughter in 2000 closed down her Twitter account following what she called an “unrelenting” campaign of abuse.

Other celebrities who have walked away from Twitter include the popstar Nicki Minaj, British comedian Matt Lucas and star of the Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence.

However, some high profile individuals who use Twitter have taken a stand against those who send them abusive messages on the site.

Former England footballer and current pundit Stan Collymore regularly exposes people who send him racist abuse on Twitter. In July 2014, Collymore contacted police in the UK over the abuse he received on the site.

However, the police were forced to drop the investigation after Twitter refused to provide them with information on the alleged offenders, a move which was heavily criticised by the officers investigating the case.