Target: Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter
Goal: Adopt a zero-tolerance policy on hate speech published on Twitter.
Social media platforms have proven to be an excellent way to connect people from all over the world. Unfortunately, these same platforms have also given users the opportunity to spew racist, sexist, and otherwise hateful content, often with little to no consequence. Such is the case with Twitter, whose loosely enforced policy on hate speech has allowed countless users to be harassed and demeaned because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, and other identities. These abuses clearly contradict Twitter’s claim that it “prohibits the promotion of hate content.”
Twitter’s failure to uphold this policy has been criticized many times, most recently in the case of Leslie Jones, one of the stars of the upcoming Ghostbusters film. After being inundated with a steady stream of racist tweets, Jones announced her departure from Twitter. While Twitter did ban one high-profile user who had instigated hate speech against Jones, it is arguable that no such action would have been taken if Jones were not a celebrity. Indeed, in most cases, hate speech and those who publish it on Twitter face no repercussions, even when the content has been reported. These violations leave the most vulnerable Twitter users susceptible to hate with no protection. It’s time for Twitter to step up and start to take these violations more seriously. Sign the petition to pressure Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding hate speech published on the site.
Dear Mr. Dorsey,
Twitter has recently made some progress in protecting its users from hate speech, and that is certainly laudable. However, it appears that some progress is not nearly enough. The high-profile case of Leslie Jones’ exit from Twitter in response to racist tweets is sadly just one case of far too many. Most of these instances of hate speech result in little if any consequences, especially if the target is not in the public eye.
Twitter clearly states that it prohibits “hate speech…against an individual…based on race, ethnicity, national origin, color, religion, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, [etc.].” It is time that this prohibition be strictly and consistently enforced. Whether or not a user is banned, blocked, or warned because of hateful content should not depend on the status of their target or which moderator happens to read that post. Hate speech creates a hostile environment for Twitter’s most vulnerable users, and it should not be tolerated, period.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Howard Lake