Twitter Tames the Trolls


Trolls on Twitter may be prompt unhappiness in innocent Twitter users.

Alexander Yagoda, Staff Writer

In recent years, “trigger warnings” have been preceding pieces such as articles and videos that discuss controversial topics with offensive words or phrases. Now, on Twitter, all the work is done for you. Twitter has recently unveiled a new initiative to rid their site of offensive content by making it easier for its users to hide things they don’t want to see and report abusive posts, even when those messages are directed at other people. Given the nature and results of the 2016 presidential election, online trolls have become bolder and more aggressive, and have even gotten the beloved meme Pepe the Frog classified as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League. Needless to say, the empowerment of trolls is problematic and needs to be stopped.

“I’m perfectly fine with you being able to block people, but the reporting of other people’s comments, even when they are not directed toward you infringes on people’s freedom of speech,” sophomore Robert Kirk said.

On Twitter, you may see tweets from friends, celebrities or even political figures. However, users may also be subject to hurtful comments from the people known as “internet trolls”. In fact, Instagram has already implemented a feature that will block posts that contain words or phrases that you input. This is similar to Twitter’s new feature, except that Twitter has given its support teams special training on how to better identify mistreatment on Twitter. This initiative is giving hope to innocent “bystanders” on Twitter that are attacked by trolls just for, say, commenting on something the troll doesn’t agree with.

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I personally think it’s a great idea for Twitter to extend its wide coverage of reporting tools, making it easier to avoid seeing things that offend you.”

— Bryan Agredo

In fact, this theme of trolling and harassment has spread to reputable anti-hate organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, which branded the meme Pepe the Frog as a hate symbol, up in the legions with swastikas and Confederate flags. Internet trolls have been around since the internet’s creation, however, only recently have initiatives been made to stop them from spreading their messages of hate.

Some believe this censorship to be somewhat oppressive and against the freedom of speech that many American’s claim they have. However, when regarding an international company such as Twitter, there really is no such thing as freedom of speech since Twitter has the right to moderate and control what is posted on their site. The idea that Twitter is no better than China for censoring some content is ridiculous since Twitter and similar social media sites will only be censoring hate speech.

Twitter has put in place a new system that makes it easier for Twitter users to hide and report posts that the user finds mean, similar to the policy Instagram already had in place. The sharing of memes used in offensive ways, like Pepe the Frog depicted as Hitler led to memes being looked down upon, or in Pepe’s case, being outright called a hate symbol. With further implementation of systems like those Twitter and Instagram have implemented, online trolls may one day be eradicated.