Twitter’s recent announcements – the killing of Vine and the introduction of customer service chatbots — are headscratchers in light of the fact that trolling and abuse are still mainstays on the platform.
The social media company’s biggest challenge — besides not knowing exactly what sort of company it wants to be when it grows up — is that influencers with large followings on the platform continue to complain about the abuse they have to endure from mostly anonymous sources.
Twitter’s main genius stroke — that you could remain anonymous on the service whereas Facebook made it nearly impossible to hide your true identity has now become its greater problem, as hate speech and harassment has proliferated.
It will be fascinating to see what key stats show when the election is over. You have the sense that many people — especially the journalists who serve up the news that makes Twitter a must-read destination — are going to take a long break from the service once the election is settled (whenever that may be!).
Twitter would be wise to take that time to decide how it handles the nexus of free speech and harassment if it wants to a) stay a destination for influential people and b) become less toxic in a bid to sell to a company better fit to run it.