“A Honeypot For Assholes” [How To Monetize Assholes/Abuse]

“A Honeypot For Assholes”: Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment by Charlie Warzel.

From the post:

For nearly its entire existence, Twitter has not just tolerated abuse and hate speech, it’s virtually been optimized to accommodate it. With public backlash at an all-time high and growth stagnating, what is the platform that declared itself “the free speech wing of the free speech party” to do? BuzzFeed News talks to the people who’ve been trying to figure this out for a decade.

Warzel’s 6,000 word (5966 by my count) ramble uses “abuse” without ever defining the term. Nor do any of the people quoted in his post. But, like Justice Stewart, they “know it when they see it.”

One of the dangers Warzel’s post is every reader will insert their definition of “abuse.” Hard to find people who disagree that “abuse as they define it” should be blocked by Twitter.

All of Warzel’s examples are “abuse” (IMHO) but even so, I don’t support Twitter blocking that content from being posted. I emphasize posted because being posted on Twitter doesn’t obligate any user to read the content.

I don’t support Twitter censorship of any account, for any reason. Four Horsemen Of Internet Censorship + One.

If Twitter doesn’t block content, then how do to deal with “abuse?”

Why not monetize the blocking of assholes and abuse?

Imagine a Twitter client/app that:

  1. Maintains a list of people blocked not only by a user but allowed a user to subscribe to block lists of any other user.
  2. Employed stop lists, regexes, neural networks to filter tweets from people who have not been blocked.
  3. Neural networks trained on collections of “dick pics” and other offensive content to filter visual content as well.

Every user can have a customized definition of “abuse” for their own feed. Without impinging on the definitions of “abuse” of other users.

Twitter clients to support such filtering options are already in place. TweetDeck Versus Hootsuite – The Essential Guide discusses two popular clients. There are hundreds of others, both web and smart phone based.

Circling the question: “Why isn’t Twitter using my personal definition of “abuse” to protect me for free?” generates a lot of discussion, but no viable solutions.

Monetizing filtering of assholes and abuse, resources available in vast quantities, protects both free speech and freedom from unwanted speech.

The only useful question on Twitter abuse is the price point to set for avoiding X amount of abuse?


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