Nursing Twitter back to health
Poor Jack Dorsey just can’t catch a break. No matter how many times he explains that nazis are welcome on Twitter, a large, vocal chunk of his userbase just won’t accept it.
Here’s an idea: Twitter needs to stop hiding behind rules which may or may not be fit for purpose. Community management isn’t just about setting rules, it’s about ensuring the long-term health of that community. That requires a curation-based approach. It requires you to take editorial decisions, not just refer to a rule book. Someone may not be breaking a specific rule but their behaviour can still be toxic.
Is InfoWars’ presence on Twitter a bad look for the platform? Does it merely being active there stir up bad feeling and resentment among other users? Twitter shouldn’t be scared to say ‘sorry, we don’t want your type in the club’ when it comes to some of society’s worst bad actors. That requires Twitter taking a strong position on what kind of society we want to live in, and how its platform can help us achieve that.
Now, you could argue that Twitter already ignores its rules, given how much abuse is allowed to stay on the platform. Any regular Twitter user will have seen an example of someone sharing a 'this tweet doesn’t violate our policies’ response after they reported an obvious example of rule-breaking.
But if Twitter officially embraces the mission of 'maintaining a healthy community’ and is less scared of being accused of political bias, it can focus on getting rid of antisocial behaviour without having a strict set of rules it has to refer to in any situation.
There’s an argument that Twitter’s basic design is poorly suited to the way it’s now used, and that it will always lead to bad behaviour, but Dorsey should at least try to prove wrong what some have ended up concluding due to his lack of meaningful action – that he secretly likes nazis.