Twitter has announced a new initiative to combat harassment on its platform: the Twitter Trust & Safety Council. The Council, as Twitter calls it, brings together experts from 40 different organizations into a single group (presumably a contact list) that the social network can reach out to when it develops “products, policies, and programs” to will help users “feel safe expressing themselves.” Unfortunately, while Twitter has gotten pretty good at talking up what it’s doing to fight abusive behavior on its platform, it’s not actually that great at enforcing its existing policies — something its own employees can testify to.
The Council includes a lot of smart groups — but will Twitter listen to them?
Despite this, the organizations Twitter has tapped for its Council are extremely admirable, including LGBT advocacy group GLAAD, the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-semitism worldwide, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, which combats revenge porn. Also included is Feminist Frequency, the nonprofit founded by media critic and journalist Anita Sarkeesian. It’s a somewhat ironic inclusion, given that Sarkeesian has been the target of so much online abuse herself, but then again, who would know better how to identify it? As ever, Twitter has at least given itself plenty of opportunities to learn from its own mistakes.